Want More Depth in Your Democracy? Tonight’s City Council Meeting on “ABC to Z”

Note: This week’s BB goes Duke City Fix post…

Are you sick and tired of political discourse revolving around 140-character tweets? Are you looking for more substance and complexity than “more money means we can win wars again” and such?

Well, Duke City resident, your City Council is offering up all the substance, complexity and exponentially more than 140 character depth you can handle tonight as it takes “final action” on the City’s “Comprehensive Plan,” marketed as “ABC to Z.”

Usually, I’m more than ready to pass along my opinions about, uh, anything, even when I am under and/or misinformed. But this morning, I’m just gonna pass along a few details and some links, because, frankly, the new “Comp Plan” is, to quote a certain current national leader, “so complicated.”

Where to start?

Tonight, after an aborted attempt to take approval action a few weeks back (January 4th), City Council will act on the Plan. This added step came after serious outcry concerning a lack of public involvement, particularly from the Spanish-speaking community, during the public meeting process. As a result, additional meetings were held in Spanish, and now here we are.

Now where is “here”?

To an extent unparalleled in City of Albuquerque website history, “ABC to Z” has featured a project website LOADED with information. Some dear readers out there have doubtlessly explored these documents, but in case you need to do some last minute cramming for tonight’s Council meeting, here’s only an iceberg tip of all the prose, maps, spreadsheets, etc. you can take a gander at over the next nine hours or so. Be prepared: you have some catching up to do, and, yes, it’s all on “the Final.”

  • Let’s start our wading expedition with a trip to the “Greenline Draft” page, including that draft reflecting the latest changes  (about halfway down the page by chapter), as well as an fascinating array of:
    • Staff (i.e., City Folks) responses to public comments;
    • “Floor Amendments” proposed by Staff for tonight’s meeting;
    • Floor Amendments proposed by the public for tonight’s meeting;
    • The Staff presentation given at the aforementioned January 4th Council meeting;
    • A link to a spreadsheet ambitiously outlining “policies from the 2013 Comp Plan, Rank 2 Area Plans, and the City’s Rank 3 Sector Development Plans”; and, if you’re brain hasn’t already exploded;
    • Links to another aspect of ABC to Z, the Integrated Development Ordinance seeking to simplify our convoluted zoning codes, including areally-cool map of current and proposed zoning.

Yeah, a bit more than “Obama wiretapped my phones. McCarthyism!!! Sad!” huh? Yes, unlike the current national leader, you can fully attend the “national security briefing” of ABC to Z by delving into the links above, and more. One might cynically argue that the depth covered at the ABC to Z website is an attempt to obfuscate via a blizzard of information, but it’s exactly that sort of thinking which has led to “McCarthyism!!! Sad!” in the first place. Being fully informed isn’t un-American. Really.

Still, we, the Council and Albuquerque have a lot on our plate with the new Comp Plan and ABC to Z. It’s important, and tonight’s meeting will go a meaningful way toward deciding how the Duke City looks and grows in coming years.

That’s the big picture. Being the humans that we are, there’s a strong tendency to look at all of the above selfishly, finding a specific topic, or road, in the Plan that touches our lives. Personally, I found quite a bit of input, debate and consternation concerning my own least favorite road in all of Bernalillo County: Coors Boulevard.

What a horrible road, or “stroad,”  as is the modern parlance.

Selfishly, I want Coors Blvd. to be a safer, saner roadway. Obviously, from taking a look at references in the many comments and amendments, many other people do as well, although there is great difference of opinion on how best to accomplish this. In overly simplistic terms, discussion seems centered on whether Coors is better off with greater housing/public density and rapid transit, ala ART, or through keeping the density as low as possible and creating more roadway options to alleviate congestion.

Coors seems a good example, selfish or no, on what tonight’s City Council meeting and ABC to Z is all about. And that’s just one example. So, if you have time and haven’t quite gotten around to reading some or all of the linked material above, you might want to do so during this windy afternoon. Here’s tonight’s Agenda, and here’s a link to Gov TV if you can’t drop by what should be a pretty congested Council Chamber later today.

Enjoy your Democracy!

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