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Berry briefs White House on youth initiatives

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It turns out that both Mayor Richard Berry and County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver have some ideas that intrigue the bigwigs in Washington.

Berry, for example, visited the White House last week to brief the Obama administration on Albuquerque’s efforts to help young people.

The mayor planned to talk about “Running Starts for Careers,” a program he started that gets students into apprenticeships and provides industry-taught classes.

Also on the agenda, Berry said, was “Homework Diner,” an effort in which culinary students serve parents, tutors and children a meal while they work on homework.

“We’re being seen as innovators as a city,” Berry said before leaving for Washington, D.C.

Berry, a Republican, has already visited the White House or Washington a handful of times over the last year.

Last week’s visit included a few mayors and business leaders invited from across the country.

Bernalillo County’s election practices are also getting some national attention.

The bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration issued a report in January that cites testimony from Toulouse Oliver as the part of the basis for some recommendations.

Toulouse Oliver testified before the presidential commission last summer about the success of the “voting center” concept used here, in which voters can cast ballots at any polling place, rather than being tied to one precinct in particular.

“I am proud and humbled that, once again, Bernalillo County is serving as a model for the rest of the nation on Election Administration,” she said in a written statement.

Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, said the commission’s recommendations reflect some innovations carried out in Bernalillo County, including online dashboards that tell people how long the wait is at voting centers.

The city of Albuquerque has posted a new batch of data online for use by the public and developers of smart-phone applications.

The new data sets include information on restaurant inspections, parking citations and the place where film and TV shows have been shot.

Developers have already built applications based on some of the data the city posts online routinely, including an app that tells bus riders how far away their bus is.

Visit www.cabq.gov/abq-data to take a look.

Dan McKay can be contacted at dmckay@abqjournal.com

 

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