By Arthur Tannenbaum
June 15, 2016
Albuquerque City Hall
Concerned citizen and freelance correspondent Arthur Tannenbaum was in attendance at the most recent Albuquerque City Council committee meeting June 13 — the Finance and Government Operations (commonly referred to as “FGO”) Committee meeting, which was disrupted by a security lock down that resulted from rather overly reactionary measures related to a rumored “active shooter” and reports that there might have been a hostage situation at City Hall. The concerned citizen who has determined political officials in Albuquerque must have an independent monitor, in order to naturally improve the conduct and decorum of the people who create policies that define our future, said late Monday night: Another waste of time.
Council Services staff members were most gracious in accommodating Art’s request for a tabletop or something to write on in the 9th floor Council Committee Room. In contrast to the decorum on the part of impartial professionals working for the political establishment, following Mr. Tannenbaum’s 2-minute public comments with regard to the proposed Passenger Facility Charge increase at our airport Ken Sanchez typically insisted upon interrupting in attempts to create argument under the guise of an ostensible Point Of Information (Robert’s Rules Of Order ). Consistent with his dictatorial manner Sanchez insisted on having the last word twice after Tannenbaum had stated he, as a local resident, is “disinclined to absorb the costs of financial mismanagement in the city of Albuquerque political establishment.”
Four individuals who have been appointed to the Finance and Government Operations Committee, in addition to Acting Secretary of State Brad Winter who holds a position on the FGO Committee, were present at the committee meeting: Ken Sanchez, Klarissa Peña, Dan Lewis and Pat Davis, the committee Chairman. Lewis was tardy; he finally showed up shortly after the meeting was called to Order at 5:05 pm.
Staff members in the mayoral Administration, including Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry and City Attorney Jessica Hernandez, were also in attendance.
The reporter had signed-up to make Public Comment on the final agenda item, having intended to respectfully inform the elected officials of his intentions to monitor their conduct after many members of the public would have presumably left the room. Council committee meetings have no audio/video documentation posted or streamed online and apparently the only true documentation of the goings on in committee meetings available to the public are audio recordings, which are only furnished at significant cost ($6.75 apiece) — also involving considerable delay in their availability.
The committee meeting, which wasn’t even halfway through, was called to a halt following panic that resulted from reports about a man who had broken into an office within the 11-story building yelling things about potential violence taking place. According to a Police Department spokesman, the suspect was “known to (APD) Crisis Intervention Team officers, who typically deal with people who have mental health issues or are going through crisis.” A hefty law enforcement response took place including Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office personnel in addition to Albuquerque Police Dept.
The APD spokesman had been quoted Monday night as having said they weren’t taking any chances with respect to the incident at City Hall. CAO Rob Perry called for preferential, priority treatment to be afforded certain individuals on the 9th floor once or twice during the lockdown.
Mr. Tannenbaum, bewildered by, among many other things, an Associated Press photograph published with a caption portraying him prominently as a “City Hall employee,” says he was wondering when he would receive his check. “Last night I was thinking: This effort I have taken on in order to help improve our government for the sake of a better quality of life respecting hundreds of thousands of members of the public is too taxing. I feel exhausted.”
Noting the professionalism and courtesy of each and every police officer he had come into contact with as they had been performing their job duties, the journalist hopes to get a somewhat accurate idea of the costs related to the law enforcement presence that was called in to City Hall after one man now facing Felony charges allegedly created fear and terror by yelling something about an “active shooter” in the building. “I will survive,” the council correspondent asserts, “I shall not be discouraged and I will persevere.”
A man who would prefer to remain anonymous expressed the hope that someday many top ranking officials who are supposedly responsible for maintaining an orderly society can measure up to the standards they set for their employees and for members of the public concerning decorum and self-restraint.