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Things Albuquerque does right

For many, it’s easier to criticize and complain than to offer praise or positive thoughts – and I must admit that I’m often a vector of that very human disease.

So I made it a point in this column to offer nothing but the positive about Albuquerque.

To do this, I enlisted the help of several local people in leadership positions – some are the usual suspects; others just go about their days making the city a better place to live.

I sent an email asking this group – really, a granfalloon of my making – to name something Albuquerque does right.

They turned out to be a nice bunch of people who think very highly of their neighbors. I’m calling this column the “Things Albuquerque Does Right.” I cut most of their responses down to size, but here goes:

“The Sandia Mountains, the sunsets, the spectacular skies and the open spaces of sunlit, high-desert landscapes make Albuquerque endlessly enchanting and wondrous. I love that there are so many outdoor recreational activities to explore, and I think the current focus on expanding bike lanes and bike paths across Albuquerque is fantastic.”

Kathie Winograd

President, Central New Mexico Community College

“Albuquerque is resilient. What I mean is that this is a city that by its very geography, climate and culture bounces back from adversity. In fact, I might even say that Albuquerque is one of the few cities in the world that are ‘anti-fragile.’ Anti-fragility is a concept proposed by Nassim Taleb, that basically says that some people, processes, organizations etc. may actually get better as they’re tested (whatever does not kill you makes you stronger). This is not true of many places, but I believe that our city, because of its tumultuous history and its diverse citizenry, is one such place.”

Chaouki Abdallah

Provost, University of New Mexico

“I am amazed at how willing and active people in Albuquerque are to help others. … It’s amazing. I am grateful for our mayor and our police chief asking for prayer. Too often we have regulated God to a sideline seat and I am thankful that we have some men who are willing to approach the faith community with the request for prayer.”

Erik Christensen

Senior pastor, Hoffmantown Church

“The airport is beautiful and it is easy to get to; Isotopes Park and the Pit are great places to watch their respective sports; the Balloon Fiesta is a truly world-class and enjoyable event for all ages. The area is an undiscovered gem for golf; some of the best golf courses for the value in the entire country.”

Paul Gessing

President, Rio Grande Foundation

“I am excited about the burgeoning movement to make Albuquerque a destination city for dance. We have strong companies like the National Institute of Flamenco, Keshet Dance Company, New Mexico Ballet Company and new companies like the J. Garcia Dance Company that want to make the city a hub for dance in the Southwest and beyond.”

Veronica Garcia

Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children

“Albuquerque is an extremely giving community. We have a number of charitable organizations, businesses, clubs, churches, youth groups etc. and just everyday good Samaritans that organize and/or volunteer their time and financial resources to help our neighbors.”

Rep. Monica Youngblood

R-Albuquerque

“The mayor has been a leader in creating nationally recognized programs within the municipal government to deal with homelessness and job training that have been spun off into successful nonprofits backed by private contributions and grant funding. This ‘incubator’ model seems to work well.”

Tingley Beach, with its “nice, clean environment,” was praised by Yvonne Sanchez, head coach of the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Tingley Beach, with its “nice, clean environment,” was praised by Yvonne Sanchez, head coach of the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld

Congregation Albert

“I do think Albuquerque does a lot of things right. Here is one for me: keeping the Bosque Trail up and running at all times. I love getting on my bike hitting the trail and meeting great people. Another one is continuing to make Tingley Beach friendly for all. I love when I ride by and I see kids fishing in a nice, clean environment.”

Yvonne Sanchez

Head coach, UNM women’s basketball

“Small family businesses, especially in the construction and home improvement trades. The competition here makes these businesses strong, and I’m very impressed by the work I’ve seen (along with the intergenerational pride of workmanship I’ve noticed).”

Andrew Watson

Head of school, Albuquerque Academy

“Last weekend, I spent time at two Albuquerque open spaces – Elena Gallegos and the shooting range on the West Side. It’s remarkable how quickly residents can go from the middle of town to hiking along a creek in the mountains or standing in the vast expanse of the open space on the West Side. Our city leaders in the ’60s and ’70s made some visionary investments that continue to make a huge contribution to the quality of life in this community. And, as I saw this weekend, the open space program continues to have knowledgeable, professional and welcoming staff who help residents get the most out of their visit.”

Maggie Hart Stebbins

Chair, Bernalillo County Commission

“Over time, the blending of people and cultures in this beautiful place has turned our challenges into opportunities to work together to thrive. It’s our warm embrace of this diversity that has created a place where uniqueness is celebrated and new ideas are welcomed.”

Richard Berry

Mayor, Albuquerque

UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to editorial page editor Dan Herrera at 823-3810 or dherrera@abqjournal.com.


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