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City Council is ignoring Downtown decay

Remember the scene in “Jurassic Park” in which Jeff “uh” Goldblum, having seen not one dinosaur in the park, asks if there are, uh, any dinosaurs on the, uh, dinosaur tour? It’s a funny scene. I laughed out loud the first time I saw it.

I think about that scene when I look around Albuquerque, except, I don’t laugh.

“Hey, uh, ABQ City Council, do you, uh, actually live in Albuquerque.” …

And I ask because I wonder how anyone who lives here can ignore the city’s problems as effectively as many members the ABQ City Council have. I mean, the problems are staring us right in the face, just like the overflowing sidewalk trash cans during the hastily thrown together 2020 Nob Hill Stroll. The problems are on every corner, headlining almost every news story.

You hear them in the sirens and the stories of loss and theft; lately, you even hear them in the revved engines of those turning our streets into a race track. I mean, Montgomery is practically the Autobahn at this point.

The dirt, the filth, the ugliness of what was once a beautiful city is growing by leaps and bounds. And small business is leaving. Sure, Netflix is expanding, and as wonderful as that is, it can’t negate the fact that this year alone we have seen a massive exodus of local business.

According to one Nob Hill businessperson I spoke to recently, 87 businesses have closed in that stretch of Central between San Mateo and University. … In less than a year.

Nob Hill is a gem of an area that was first hit hard by the endless ART construction and now the state’s public health order. … Boarded-up businesses and for lease/sale signs dot the bleak Nob Hill, EDO and Downtown landscape.

And I see this and wonder, is our City Council seeing this, too? And if they are, how are they OK with this? And why aren’t they doing more to combat it? I mean, how on earth can other cities somehow manage to have quaint, successful downtown districts but somehow, we in Albuquerque, the land of sunshine, amazing people and the best food on the planet, are incapable of doing the same? How is this even possible?

At a time when we should be preserving this incredible city and encouraging its growth in myriad ways, we have a City Council focused on a 2019 plastic bag ban and trying to force businesses in 2020, businesses who are barely treading water under the weight of forced closures, to pay for employee time off. …

Hey, I’m not saying what needs to be done is easy; worthwhile endeavors rarely are. But this city and its people are worth it. No one is going to agree 100% with all the decisions approved by city government, but in no way is it asking too much to insist that the majority of the decisions handed down make good economic sense for the city of Albuquerque. Enough with the symbolism over substance.

The City Council needs to put away the Band-Aids and work to make the city they serve a thriving, growing, business-friendly safe place people want to be. And if they aren’t doing this, the residents of Albuquerque should, in unison, don a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, and ask, in their best Jeff Goldblum voice: “Uh, why aren’t they?”

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