The following letter to the editor appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on December 26, 2016. Whatever Mayor Berry’s political party, he has governed as a “progressive.”
It has become abundantly clear that Mayor (Richard) Berry’s legacy as mayor will include the transformation of Central using massive amounts of taxpayer dollars.
His latest taxpayer-financed “deal” – One Central – is a subsidy of $17.35 million, not including land, to construct a parking garage, apartments, a bowling alley and movie theater, among other possibilities. All of these are common throughout Albuquerque and don’t require taxpayer subsidies.
As Jerry Mosher, one of the parties involved in the project, noted, even with massive taxpayer subsidies, One Central is “pretty risky.” That’s because there is little market demand for the vision the mayor is trying to impose. But the Berry administration is happy to throw our money at it nonetheless.
Why? Perhaps enough tax dollars will make the mayor’s signature Albuquerque Rapid Transit project look successful. Or perhaps it is just a desire to destroy Central as it exists, including numerous small businesses, and rebuild it based on the preferences of City Hall.
What we do know is that the city faces a $6 million deficit. Some are already talking about the need for “revenue enhancements” even though the local gross-receipts tax has risen considerably in recent years and the metro area has fewer jobs than it did back in September 2008.
Unfortunately, under Republican leadership, Albuquerque has proven even more “progressive” than it was under Democrats.
PAUL J. GESSING, President
Rio Grande Foundation