Why is zoning important? Perhaps you noticed announcements for three important zoning meetings this month for three different bodies in the ABQ metro. Zoning ordinances are the regulations imposed by cities and counties describing how land may be used and setting requirements for allowable developments and land uses. Ideally, interests are balanced, and the general welfare of the public is promoted and preserved.
The Bernalillo County Commission approved the Santolina master-planned development west of Albu(r)querque. This was highly controversial and remains so. The next meeting about Santolina focuses on an agreement with the water authority (ABCWUA). Development can not go forward without an agreement. An important point is that the existence of paper water rights does not mean there is water available for tens of thousands of people the developers say will move to the development even though area population appears to be decreasing. In addition, the Commission previously approved tax increment financing for the developers–that is future taxpayer money goes to the developers to help pay the costs of development. Santolina Master Plan
The City of Albuquerque is overhauling the zoning code. This effort has met significant resistance from city residents who are not developers and commercial realtors. The notions of transit-oriented development and increased density sound good in theory with regard to reducing emissions and sprawl, respectively. However, many of the claims made to justify the major changes are not valid. Albuquerque is not seeing an increase in population, and the majority of millenials and boomers do not want to live in high-rise apartments in an urban center. Further, Sector Development Plans (SDPs), documents created to guide development of particular areas of the city, will be eliminated. SDPs have been created with significant neighorhood participation and have served unique areas of the city well. IDO
Finally, Sandoval County is considering a draft Oil & Gas Ordinance to address concerns about negative effects of extraction, particularly fracking. Unfortunately, the draft ordinance appears to be lacking in requirements for environmental impact studies and consideration for historical sites and wildlife areas. The latest news in this saga is that Sandoval County may consider using Special Use Permits on a case-by-case basis rather than moving forward with work on an Oil & Gas Ordinance. Sandoval County P&Z
The request by SandRidge Exploration and Production, L. L. C. to the Sandoval County Zoning Commission for a Zone Map amendment to allow drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Sandoval County was met with prompt and significant public opposition. The people of Sandoval County have good reason to be concerned about the possibility of fracking, as do the people of Bernalillo County. While proponents may claim lower electricity prices or facilitated compliance with EPA pollution standards or job creation, they may minimize or ignore harmful effects. These include aquifer contamination, air contamination, surface destruction, decreased property values, high-volume water consumption (millions of gallons per well), bedrock destabilization, and the resultant negative health consequences from items on this lengthy list.
The Green Party of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area (GPAMA) serves Sandoval, Bernalillo, Torrance, and Valencia Counties. GPAMA strongly recommends denial of the Zone Map amendment request ZNCH-15-003 and encourages residents of Sandoval County to voice their opposition to the request.
Banner and Bummer
First, take note of the last photo affiliated with this story. That is the GP banner popping up at various protests, marches, and rallies in the metro area. Second, recognize the antagonism between the governor of one corporate party and the state legislature, both houses with majorities of the other corporate party, unveiled in the article. That is the other sign to note: a putative two-party system that leads to bickering instead of co-operation. Minor parties can lead the way to more representative governance. If no party holds a strong enough majority, it is forced to work with other parties to get the work of governing done. The breadth of the populace getting representation is greater. Alliances may change from one issue to another, but more meaningful dialogue may occur and reinforce the notion of service in public service. In a two-party system, the corporate parties simply take their turns at the trough. The Green Party is the party for people, planet, and peace.
Hello Greens. The Green Party of the United States is a federation of state parties. Participation at the national level, as a member of the National Committee or one of the many standing committees, requires approval by one’s state party. The identity caucuses, however, do not. The Women’s Caucus, the Black Caucus, the Latinx Caucus, the Lavender Caucus, and the Youth Caucus all exist to assure that the Green Party is diverse and hears historically underrepresented voices.
If you are so inclined, learn more about these opportunities to participate in the Green Party.
Here are two examples of Greens speaking (or writing) to people and to power. The first is an excerpt from the guest column by B. Burris written late last year for the Albuquerque Journal.
Neoconservatives and the military-industrial complex are eagerly supporting Clinton over Trump in anticipation of a return to the more aggressive foreign policy orientation of George W. Bush.
Some say, “Well, we have to vote for the lesser of the two evils.” I myself have voted in this way much of my life. However, although lesser-evil voting seems to make sense in the short run, when one looks at the effect over time, its problems become clear.
Repeatedly voting for the perceived lesser evil lowers standards and creates a “race to the bottom.” By voting for candidates who do not share our values just because they seem better than the opposing candidate, we have given carte blanche to party elites to choose the nominee. As a result, both parties have moved to the right in recent decades: the Republicans to the far right and the Democrats to the center right. Both parties are increasingly influenced by corporate donors and the military-industrial complex.
I have decided to say “enough is enough” and reject both of the corrupt and undemocratic political parties.
I am working with others to build a progressive alternative by supporting the Green Party and their presidential ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. The Green Party is an international party with parties in almost 90 countries.
Green parties have been particularly influential in Western Europe and Scandinavia, where they work for environmental and social democratic policies. The German Green Party, founded in 1980, has participated in coalition governments for many years.
Green parties have been at the forefront of raising environmental concerns and addressing climate change, but they also prioritize social justice, grass-roots democracy and nonviolence/peace. To learn more about Green party politics, you can find its U.S. platform at gp.org/platform. It is a detailed and excellent platform.
Whomever you vote for on Nov. 8, I would encourage you to vote based on your values rather than your fears. The more that we vote out of fear, the more fearful our world becomes. The more that we disregard our values, the more corrupt and amoral our society becomes. Vote not for the lesser evil but rather for the greater good.
The following image is the recently published letter by P. Rogers taking on the state legislature for failing to curb predatory lenders.
A small group of us were stationed at the SE corner of Civic Plaza in ABQ on Saturday, January 21st for the Women’s March on Washington Rally that attracted thousands of people. We had good visibility with lots of interaction with people. People borrowed some of our signs for the rally, and we distributed a lot of green safety pins and several buttons. Many people stopped to photograph the big banner and other signs.
Please try to join us this Saturday evening at 6:00 p. m. at the Guild Cinema on Central Avenue in Nob Hill for flyer distribution and a viewing of Antarctica: Ice and Sky.
The Green Party of the Albu(r)querque Metropolitan Area (GPAMA) is carrying the momentum from the 2016 Stein/Baraka campaign into 2017. We started an events-list that is e-mailed to our list advising area Greens of various events or activities related to the Four Pillars and 10 Key Values.
Beginning on the winter solstice, we joined the silent march and attended the vigil in memory of those individuals who passed away in 2016 who had experienced homelessness.
A few of us gathered to make signs to display at the upcoming Women’s March on Washington Rally in ABQ. Some were put into use the very next day at a healthcare rally and demonstration in front of UNMH. Greens were there calling (literally) for a single-payer system and exposing the corporate parties. See some of the signs on our home page and join us at Civic Plaza on Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 11:00 a. m.