The discussion continues on the Mayor’s “ABQ The Plan.” And, while it is always good to discuss and plan for the future, I don’t think the Town Hall Survey is fair or reasonable in its presentation of the issues.
Right out of the chute, the first question is: “Should we invest in the future? Y/N” Then it takes users through the various projects and asks users to rank them based on importance. After taking the survey, the software even offers the result showing that 98.6 percent of users think we “should invest in our future!” Duh!
Of course we should invest in our future. How about a more legitimate question like: “Should the City of Albuquerque spend taxpayer dollars to build XYZ project or should we return that money to you, the taxpayer?” At least that question provides a reasonable choice between two options. All too often, government officials and politicians seem to believe that money only becomes “real” once it has been taxed and collected by the government. The reality is that, if left in the pockets of taxpayers, that money that might be used for a bike trail, improvements to the convention center, or to build a pedestrian mall on 4th street, might instead be used to help start a small business, pay for a child’s education, or for a down payment on a new home…all of which are investments in the future made by private citizens, not the government.
So, Mayor Berry, I urge you to be realistic and consider the tradeoffs that might be made. There may be a great deal of support for these initiatives, but please realize that WE ALL invest in the future, not just government.