The City of Albuquerque’s police department monitor James Ginger has been paid over $11 million. While the overall merits of what DoJ is doing with the City’s police department is up for debate, the City’s payments to Ginger have remained high even as the City increasingly complies with DoJ’s mandates.
RGF president Paul Gessing recently sat down with KOAT TV Channel 7 to discuss Bernalillo County Assessor Damian Lara’s interesting approach to property tax assessments. The issue was discussed in more detail in a blog post here.
In addition to Gessing and Lara, the KOAT piece includes Doug Peterson, one of the largest landlords in New Mexico. While everyone wants to see properties maintained and filled with thriving businesses, those seem to be policy and enforcement considerations for the Mayor, City Council, and APD.
RGF president Paul Gessing sat down with KOAT TV to discuss the Mayor’s plans for a new stadium for the NM United Soccer team. The Rio Grande Foundation helped lead the opposition to a ballot measure that would have spent substantial tax dollars on a new stadium.
While not discussed in detail in the article, our primary concern is that City Council has a chance to fully vet and vote on the plan which would use city-owned land at Balloon Fiesta Park. The plan would (unfortunately) spend $13.5 million in State funding but we need to know what, if any, liabilities could be faced by Albuquerque taxpayers. It is also important to understand what the real impacts of the stadium will be on Balloon Fiesta Park’s parking situation and what alternatives could be undertaken with this land.
We discussed the details of the Mayor’s proposed mega-expensive $80 million bike trail here, but had a chance to offer a few thoughts in this story for KOAT TV Channel 7.
In summary, this is yet another “big ticket” taxpayer-financed project foisted upon us when what the City desperately needs is improved public safety and an improved economic climate (not to mention a better education system). A neon tumbleweed structure may be nice, but it is certainly not a core government function regardless of your broader thoughts on bike trails and Albuquerque’s extensive trail network.
Judge Glock, Director of Research at the Manhattan Institute, is an expert on homeless policy in the United States. On June 14 he gave a presentation in Albuquerque and also sat down with Bob Clark of KKOB radio.
His detailed slides can be found here: Homeless Presentation.
His conversation w/ Bob Clark is below:
Join the Rio Grande Foundation for a luncheon featuring speaker Judge Glock, Senior Fellow at the Cicero Institute, a nonpartisan public policy organization with deep experience in government, legislation and the law, technology, and entrepreneurship.
June 14, 2023
11:45AM – 1:00PM
Seasons Rotisserie & Grill
2031 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104
$50/plate before June 1
$55/plate on/after June 1
A pre-set menu with a vegetarian option will be available.
About Judge Glock:
Judge Glock is a Senior Fellow at the Cicero Institute. He was formerly a visiting professor at the Department of Economics at West Virginia University. He received his Ph.D. in History with a focus on economic history from Rutgers University. Judge’s academic writing has been featured in the Business History Review, Review of Banking and Financial Law, Journal of American History, and Tax Notes, and his public writing has been featured in City Journal, Politico, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Judge focuses his research on the areas of budgetary reform, housing, and homelessness.
The Rio Grande Foundation will honor cancellation requests until June 7 at 12:00PM MT, 2023, minus a 15% transaction fee.
The City of Albuquerque and State of New Mexico share the cost of cleaning up under Interstate highway underpasses. Unsurprisingly costs have skyrocketed since 2020 as the homeless problem has worsened and City leadership has refused to deal with the issue head-on. KOAT Channel 7 covered the issue and interviewed Paul Gessing about the problem and the costs it imposes. You can watch here.
Thanks to legal help from the Liberty Justice Center, a non-profit, public interest litigation center, the Rio Grande Foundation and its president Paul Gessing have filed a lawsuit against the City under New Mexico’s “anti-donation clause” over the City’s “donation” of $250,000 of our tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. You can read more about the case here.
“New Mexico’s constitution prevents politicians from using taxpayer funds like their own personal piggy banks,” says Daniel Suhr, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Albuquerque’s grant to Planned Parenthood is pure politics, and the state constitution prevents that kind of abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
“Taxpayers should not be compelled to subsidize Planned Parenthood or any other private group,” said Gessing, who is president of the free-market Rio Grande Foundation. “The anti-donation clause of New Mexico’s constitution is a bulwark for taxpayers against politically motivated earmarks just like this one.”
Sadly, Albuquerque’s City Council seems to have ignored New Mexico law which clearly states that “Neither the state, nor any county, school district, or municipality … shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit, or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association, or public or private corporation …”
The Rio Grande Foundation worked hard to make sure that City taxpayers didn’t have to foot the cost of a soccer-only stadium for the New Mexico United soccer team.
But, as KOAT Channel 7 notes in a recent story in which RGF’s president was interviewed, local taxpayers are STILL on the hook for expenses associated with the soccer team. In this case according to recent data requested by KOAT taxpayers have spent $960,000 since the United started playing games.
Is this better than building a brand new stadium? Yes. Has City Council ever voted on this? No. It would seem that at the very least our elected officials should be voting on this. Americans and New Mexicans are often asked to subsidize sports franchises, but that doesn’t make it right.