Neighborhood leaders to hold city accountable for issues

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Leaders from neighborhoods around Albuquerque are banding together to hold the city accountable for issues they say affect everyone in the city.

It’s a first for Albuquerque – an inter-coalition made up of neighborhoods across the city, discussing the same concerns.

Joe Valles, one of the organizers, said there is no doubt it’s needed now more than ever.

“I think maybe the police crisis, the jet fuel crisis, a government that’s unresponsive in dealing with people in general; I think it reached a critical mass,” Valles said.

The group has been meeting up to discuss issues they say impact the entire city.

After two meetings, Valles said they’ve pin-pointed the two major city issues which are the Kirtland Air Force Base jet-fuel spill and problems within the Albuquerque Police Department.

The deadly shooting of James Boyd by police sparked protests and then the Department of Justice found that APD had a pattern of using excessive force.

Since then, city councilors told residents they wanted to hear their concerns and invited them to council meetings. However, ideas were drowned out when chaos erupted in council chambers.

Valles said what comes from their new group will be different. There are plans to get insight from experts on issues like the DOJ report. The inter-coalition will then discuss how it affects everyone and take their concerns to the city.

“They want to hear from us? They’re going to hear from us,” Valles said. “At some point, we’re going to go up to the City Council and the mayor and say this is what we think is important, this is what we think needs to be done, who’s responsible and when is it going to happen.”

Council President Ken Sanchez said the council is ready to listen..

“People are wanting to see recommendations that are followed through,” Sanchez said. “They want accountability.”

Neighborhood leaders said they’re not only tackling the APD issue and Kirtland jet fuel spill.  They are also looking into issues like the education process and lack of jobs within the city.

There is another meeting set for next Thursday, July 17. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center.

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