Kudos to Mayor Berry for Fiscal Restraint

Mayor Berry has wisely announced that Albuquerque cannot afford to waste taxpayer money on an expanded convention center complex. While the Mayor left the prospect of this project open for the future, he did take a firm stand against those like Councilor Ken Sanchez who see no problem with raising taxes in a down economy for a project that will benefit only a small sliver of the business community while adding to the City’s debt burden (which includes $78 million in outstanding debt on the current facility).

The Mayor’s decision shows that he is serious about fiscal restraint and turning around Albuquerque’s economy by making it attractive to businesses and entrepreneurs rather than using taxpayer dollars to target specific industries and groups for largess. Thank you Mr. Mayor!

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5 Replies to “Kudos to Mayor Berry for Fiscal Restraint”

  1. The first time I spoke out publicly about the perils of Downtown Revitalization was in 1985 when the ABQ Journal published an article I wrote. They titled it: “City Fathers Beat Dead Horse Downtown”. Among those who called me with attaboys for railing against the expansion of the convention center into the costly, monolithic wasteland that it became was the Architect of the original convention center, Max Flatow!

    It is a very good thing that the Mayor is going to re-think Downtown Revitalization with a new, perhaps jaundiced eye and stop the trend of the past 40 years of boondoggle fantasies crammed in on the backs of taxpayers!

    Finally, a politician who listens to the People! Thank you, Mayor Berry.

  2. If the mayor can’t look voters in the eye about $300 million for the latest round of Convention, EXCUSE ME – EVENT, Center idiocy, how does he explain the $26 million for the politically correct boondoggle designed to restrict traffic on Lead and Coal? Probably some more stimulus, but to what end, when a couple of more traffic signals and some old-fashioned enforcement by actual police in actual cars would have accomplished the alleged safety goal?

    If I live another 20 years, I expect to see them putting those two major arteries back as they are now, perhaps with improvements to increase flow.

  3. When I was asked to participate in Mayor Berry’s Downtown Events Center Study Group, I began researching other cities’ successes and failures. The dominant themes were:
    1. Events center floor space had double nationwide in 20 years.
    2. Conventions had declined significantly over the same period…before the latest economic crash.
    3. Cities, circumstances, and events center results differed in many ways. Every city was unique, so there isn’t a magic formula.
    4. Cities that “succeeded” had several tourist attractions within walking distance of their events centers, and their airports had non-stop flights from major cities.
    5. The estimated price ($400 million) was overoptimistic; costs would be in the $550 million range.
    6. ABQ still owes $80 miillion on the convention center, and it need upgrading to attract any additional business.

    All in all, a bad idea, particularly at this time.

  4. Roger: please read my column and the research I did on a digital guru who poo-poo the future of tradeshows. I’d like to know your opinion.

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