A run through the confusing (and expensive) Albuquerque ballot

Early voting for this Fall’s municipal elections starts this Saturday (October 19). A full list of early voting locations can be found here. For those of you who MUST vote on Election Day, that is November 5.

We at the Rio Grande Foundation decided to take a look at the ballot for this fall’s election. There have been some big changes including the date of the election (local elections used to be in October) and the inclusion of summaries instead of actual ballot language for some complicated and important issues.

Here are a few of the critical issues on the election:

School Board: Peggy Mueller Aragon is a reformer while her opponent, Lauretta Harris is the status quo union-sponsored candidate.  If you are happy with the way APS is currently managed, Ms. Harris will keep the unions in charge of APS, but if you think the District is in dire need of reform, Mueller Aragon will carry that banner.

Voters can reduce the burdensome and regressive gross receipts tax this election. They will be asked to renew the Transportation gross receipts tax of ¼ percent, 38% of which will be spent on wasteful transit projects.

BONDS You can read about all of the proposed bonds here.

One problem with ALL bonds is that 1% of the money is diverted to “art” projects. That may seem like a trivial amount of money, but on the $5 million housing bond alone $50,000 will be diverted to pay for so-called “art.”

General Obligation: Senior, Family Community Center, Homeless Bonds totaling $21,705,000 including money for new homeless shelter that even homeless advocates have concerns about.

Energy and Water Conservation: $10,420,000
$3,855,000 of this will be allocated to solar panels and other so-called “renewable energy” project at City facilities.

Metro Redevelopment is $8,000,000, $5,000,000 of that would be for the proposed Railyards redevelopment which is estimated to cost between $50 and $80 million just to prepare the site.

Public Transportation: $3,130,000 for Albuquerque’s unpopular bus system.

Affordable Housing $5,050,000, $5,000,000 of which would be used to build a new homeless facility (see above).

CNM wants passage of an $84,000,000 bond. $7,000,000 of this would be used for new buildings relating to New Mexico’s heavily-subsidized film industry.

Prop. 1: Increases money available for public financing to $1.75 from $1.00

Prop 2: Democracy Dollars which will allow the creation of a new voucher system providing $25 vouchers for all “residents” of Albuquerque to contribute to various campaigns. Several aspects of this proposal are concerning.

Two APS bonds totaling $290 million (APS is poorly managed with high construction costs)

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