The recent blow up in the Albuquerque City Council over comments made by Council President Rey Garduño came to a quick end on Monday night during a council meeting. Earlier this month, Councilor Dan Lewis criticized Garduño for disparaging remarks towards councilors who cast a dissenting vote on a proposed Indigenous People’s Day proclamation. Lewis issued a memo that called for the censure of Garduño, but within the first 20 minutes of Monday’s meeting, Lewis announced he was withdrawing his proposal, followed by applause from the audience. The withdrawal came just after Garduño issued a public apology to his councilors for previously calling them “cowards.”
“For that, I’m a sorry. I regret my choice of words,” Garduño said.
Albuquerque City Council President Rey Garduño addressed the reaction that started with a proclamation stating that the second Monday in October would be Indigenous Peoples Day. As part of the statement released on Thursday afternoon, Garduño said that he would introduce a resolution to “more formally recognize Indigenous Peoples Day.” The designation is on the same day as the federal Columbus Day holiday, which the City of Albuquerque does not recognize. The city council voted 6-3 to approve the proclamation, but the hurried timeline and statements by Garduño led city councilor Dan Lewis to say he would seek to censure the city council president. Lewis objected to comments Garduño made after the passage of the proclamation.
A number of cities across the United States are ditching Columbus Day for Indigenous People’s Day, with Albuquerque being one of the most recent to do so. Outgoing City Council President Rey Garduño recently introduced a proclamation that names the second Monday of October in Albuquerque as Indigenous Peoples Day. While Albuquerque does not officially observe Columbus Day as the federal and state government do, the city still had to take down references to the old holiday from its website and Twitter account. City services were available on Monday and workers did not receive the day off. As late as Monday morning, there was mention of Columbus Day on both Twitter and cabq.gov, the official city website.
With just weeks left until the President of the Albuquerque City Council will step down, another member is calling for him to be officially censured. Councilor Dan Lewis drafted a memo to Council President Rey Garduño, accusing the latter of inciting public outcry by making inappropriate comments about other councilors. Lewis wrote that when Garduño successfully passed a proclamation to create an Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day, he publicly admonished his colleagues who disagreed with the measure. “Subsequently, you made a number of public statements to the media in which you condemned those Councilors for not signing the Proclamation, even going so far as to say that they were ‘cowards,’ Lewis wrote in his memo. “In so doing, you intentionally exposed your fellow Councilors to scorn and derision, when even the most basic communication with those Councilors would have revealed a common interest in truly honoring our indigenous neighbors and friends.”
In his memo, Lewis admitted this is not the first time he aimed to censure Garduño.
As the dust settles after the Albuquerque city election on Tuesday night, city council candidates are weighing in on the results. After an extremely low turnout, one candidate is ready for his new position as a councilor and another is ready to continue his tenure. The other candidates said they are ready to work with their former opponents on the issues they respectively see as important. In District 6, Pat Davis* defeated Hess “Hessito” Yntema and Sam Kerwin for the seat recently vacated by Rey Garduno. District 4 saw long time councilor Brad Winter win reelection despite the efforts of newcomer Israel Chavez.
Two city councilors in Albuquerque who are pushing for less stringent punishment for possession of small amounts of marijuana want their fellow city councilors to override the mayor’s vetoes. City Council President Rey Garduño and councilor Isaac Benton rebutted Mayor Richard Berry’s statements about the veto of decriminalization of marijuana. The other measure would have directed Albuquerque police to make marijuana possession a low priority. The two said that the city should not wait for the state Legislature in Santa Fe or Congress in Washington D.C. to make changes to marijuana policy in the city and noted that other cities around the country have already done so. Santa Fe is the only city in New Mexico that has decriminalized marijuana.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry is calling on an anti-abortion group to stop using blown-up graphic imagery in a Southeast Heights neighborhood. This week, Protest ABQ has been driving a truck with a large-scale picture of what’s purported to be an aborted fetus throughout the district where city council candidate Pat Davis* lives. Davis, who was part of a coalition group in 2013 that advocated against a ballot initiative that would have banned abortions in Albuquerque after 20 weeks of pregnancy, is running to replace Councilor Rey Garduño in the Democrat-leaning District 6. Berry, a Republican opposed to abortion rights, made the announcement in a Youtube video Friday. “As a pro-life mayor and a former state legislator, today I’m calling on Protest ABQ to stop taking large-scale images of abortions into neighborhoods where our children and our schoolkids are being exposed and traumatized,” Berry said in the video.
An anti-abortion group is getting attention for targeting an Albuquerque city council candidate with graphic imagery and one of their mailers is being investigated by the city’s ethics board. Protest ABQ, the group that sent the mailer, isn’t registered with the city as an Measure Finance Committee, which is required to be in order to send material opposing a political candidate. The mailer also didn’t list the address of Protest ABQ or the printer of the mailer, which city campaign rules require. Sent out last week, the mailer shows a picture of what’s purported to be a bloody fetus from a “late-term” abortion and a woman who the mailer says “died from LEGAL abortion.”
Yet the mailer’s attacks are saved for Pat Davis*, a District 6 city council candidate running to replace retiring Councilor Rey Garduño. “Davis champions this…” the mailer reads above the graphic photos.
The city council in Albuquerque once again passed legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana along with another piece of legislation to make marijuana offenses the lowest priority for Albuquerque police. Both measures are destined for failure, however, as Mayor Richard Berry vowed to veto them again. The legislation passed 5-4, with Democrats voting for the measure and Republicans voting against. The city council is officially non-partisan, but votes frequently fall along party lines. It would take six votes to override a mayoral veto.
Two Albuquerque city councilors are trying again to decriminalize marijuana in the state’s largest city. City councilors Rey Garduño and Isaac Benton filed the legislation on Friday, according to a press release from the Drug Policy Alliance’s New Mexico branch. DPA is a group that has supported decriminalizing marijuana possession. “Incarcerating people through this failed war on drugs for possessing a small amount of marijuana is creating criminals where none exist,” said Garduño, president of the Albuquerque city council. The proposal is actually two pieces of legislation.