The Best ABQ Mayoral Forum, Because Better Burque Was There

by Scot

Proving that if a city has enough Mayoral forums, you can even get Scot Key to attend one, I was at last night’s 28th of a scheduled 40, count ’em, 40 such forums.

The 28th put on by eponymously explained advocacy group Urban ABQ probably had the best format for any of the 40, with candidates individually rotating between tables devoted to talking topics outlined in this snazzy graphic for the event:

urbanabqforum

Yours truly was at the “Active Transportation” table, and it was good and invigorating to talk about pedestrian fatalities, bike infrastructure and ABQ Ride instead of this election year’s mantra of crime, crime and more crime.

It’s true, though, that we spent much of our time at the “Active Transportation” table talking about crime, in particular the lack of law enforcement on our roadways.

A few tidbits from candidates taken from my illegibly scrawled notes:

  • Dan Lewis is against red light cameras, and instead likes the idea of cameras used to reward drivers caught obeying speed limit laws through a rather complicated points/lottery system. He was kinda joking about this, but not really joking. He also noted he voted for the Complete Streets Ordinance, but if I heard him correctly, he drives to his mail box, presumably on a “Complete Street.”
  • Gus Pedrotty (full disclosure: I taught Gus back in his 8th Grade year, or, should I say, Gus taught me) thinks the #Bricklightnights Wednesday idea of ongoing neighborhood fiestas should be expanded as a way to get more people waking, cycling, and taking the bus to such events. He also has thorough and thoroughly modern social media ideas to educate drivers, a few of which I could understand as a person who doesn’t use Instagram or Snapchat.
  • Tim Keller noted, as did several candidates the relative lack of airport bus service, and that ART expansion to the airport and other areas is vital. He also wants more arroyo multi-use paths. I think he was also the candidate to express that he has “car-free weekends” with his family, but I can’t read my scribbled notes about that.
  • Susan Wheeler-Deichsel had the unique opportunity to speak at a forum organized by an entity she founded. So she gave us a short history lesson on Urban ABQ, one with, understandably, about 47 Jeff Speck mentions. I believe Ms. Wheeler-Deichsel mentioned a Speck quote would appear on her tombstone, but I could have misheard that.
  • Brian Colon noted that he is “not an ART lover,” but thinks ART is a great example of how lousy the public education campaigns run by the City have been. He will run better education campaigns.
  • Michelle Garcia Holmes favors radar vans issuing civil citations to slow traffic, thus avoiding the constitutional pitfalls seen by some with red light cameras. She loves to bike the Bosque, wants Montano to become a more vital public transit arterial, and favors a thorough evaluation of driving patterns in the city to then reallocate bus service. The latter was your humble blogger’s single favorite expressed idea of the evening. Ms. Garcia Holmes also said the word crime a lot, perhaps more than any other candidate (which is really saying something).
  • Ricardo Chavez favors selling ABQ Ride to a private entity, as it is losing $40 million a year, with city-funded Uber rides used for individual trips like Sun Van. He also wants to prosecute a long list of people, including speeders and distracted drivers. The quick format didn’t really allow time for questions on what private business would buy ABQ Ride or how many courts and jails would need to be built to house the pretty much limitless number of prosecuted folks to be fined and/or jailed.

All in all, a fun event for me as someone who will be attending only the 28th of the 40 scheduled forums. Each of us at the “Active Transportation” table expressed feeling sorry for the candidates running the gauntlet of all 40.

In terms of “which candidate did best” and “who the powerful and influential blog Better Burque will endorse for Mayor,” you’ll get nothing like that from me (or Better Burque, I’m guessing). Some did fine last night, one or two provided a bit of needed comic relief, and I do know who I would vote for, if I lived in the city limits.

I’ll just leave it at that.

Kudos to Urban ABQ for putting on a swell, meaningful and wonderfully different event, and both thanks and commiseration to the seven candidates who attended and will continue to attend Forum #29, #30, #31, #32…

Early voting has started. Enjoy your democracy, ABQ!

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