Posts Tagged ‘Rio Rancho’

Hello Albuquerque, Are You Paying Attention?

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Almost exactly two years ago, I was pointing out that Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez had Arena Envy in a big way:

And yes, we did talk about Mayor Martin Chavez’ desire to put $125 million of taxpayer money on the line to fix his Arena Envy problem. It seems the Mayor really wants to get a big one, no matter whose property rights he has to trample.

You would think that the reported financial problems of Rio Rancho’s Santa Ana Star arena would have cured Mayor Chavez of pursuing his own arena dreams, but it seems, like many of the bad ideas proposed by this administration, it is put back on the table every two years:

The Star Center has been a costly undertaking for the city. Rio Rancho sold $36 million worth of bonds to build the $47 million, 6,500-seat center, and pledged gross receipts tax revenues to back the bonds.

At the time, Albuquerque was considering building a Downtown arena, but Rio Rancho beat its larger neighbor to the punch. Soon after Rio Rancho announced its arena plan, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Ch├ívez said he was “pulling the plug” on its arena, saying taxpayers would likely have to back debt for the project.

Albuquerque is now reconsidering building its own 12,000-seat arena and 450-room hotel near the convention center downtown. The project is expected to cost $398 million.

Albuquerque city officials are expected to make a decision in six or seven months, after a feasibility study is completed.

So, explain something to me. If twenty four months ago, it made sense to pull the plug because taxpayers would have had to foot the bill, what would have changed now? After all, we have now learned from Rio Rancho not only will taxpayers have to back the debt (i.e. bonds), but in all likelihood, taxpayers will have to pay ongoing costs when the ill-conceived project under delivers the performance outlined in the feasibility project.

We’ve already seen new taxes being pushed to support the government’s last greatest economic development ideas – spaceport and train. Do we really now want to pay more in taxes to pay for an arena as well? I’m thinking enough is enough. Until the government can pay for their last great idea without coming back to the “taxpayer bank,” I don’t think they should get to move ahead with any new “great ideas.”

It’s Clearly About the Money

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

My wife is 5’1″…. and a half. Why is that important? Wait, I’ll get to it. First, let’s look at this huge fine a working Mom in Rio Rancho (subscription) got hit with:

When Tammi Nidever moved to the City of Vision from Albuquerque last year, she didn’t know it was against the law for her 10-year-old daughter to ride in the front seat of their Explorer.

She soon found out.

And she was given the choice of paying $138 or performing 40 hours of community service.

Now nowhere in the article written by D’Val Westphal does it state that she was driving recklessly. Nor, does it indicate her daughter wasn’t in a seatbelt. What was this “terrible woman” doing when she was pulled over? She was taking her daughter to school.

But wait, this is about safety, right? After all, she was endangering the life of the child. Well, apparently in Rio Rancho not all children are created equal:

Then Tammi learned that in Rio Rancho, a city ordinance makes it illegal for a child under age 13 to ride in the front seat of a vehicle unless there is no back seat. And if the passenger seats are all taken up by kids, the oldest kid has to ride shotgun.

So, let me get this straight. This is a terrible crime that warrants a big ticket or 40 hours of community service – that’s a full work week folks! Unless, you just don’t happen to have a back seat. Then, no worries, your kid is okay in the front. Or, if you have four kids, and only room for three in the back, go ahead and toss the fourth one up front – I guess if you’ve got that many the City of Rio Rancho has decided that child is expendable.

This is a perfect example of an absurd law. Don’t get me wrong – 95% of the time my kids (10 and 8) sit in the backseat. I don’t live in Rio Rancho, and rarely drive through it. So, I do it because I’ve read or heard it was safer – not because of a law that pretends to protect some kids, but not others. Now, I did say 95% of time. Sometimes, as a parent, I take into consideration where I’m going, and if I feel it is safe for my child to ride up front with me, I let them do it.

So, is society better off because of Rio Rancho’s law? I don’t think so. I think this law has one purpose and one purpose only – to fill the city coffers. Remember there are generations of us that grew up in a time without these ridiculous laws on the books, and guess what? We survived.

Oh right, I almost forgot. My wife is 5’1″ and sits in the front seat all the time. The little girl who was riding in the front seat next to her mother on the way to school is 5’2″.