ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In a last-ditch effort, Democratic city councilors tried to override a sweeping veto by Mayor Berry to get some controversial ideas on the November ballot.
Raising taxes and decriminalizing marijuana were two items that councilors didn’t get enough votes for to put on Wednesday’s agenda. That means councilors won’t be able to get the six votes needed to override Mayor R.J. Berry’s veto.
Mayor Berry announced last week he would not sign off on a resolution that could have put five big issues in front of voters.
Two things the mayor did not agree with, were lessening punishment for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, and raising taxes to help fund services for the homeless and mentally ill.
The mayor’s veto also killed three other items on that bill that dealt with special elections, bonds, and giving the council the power confirm and remove the police and fire chiefs. Wednesday councilors bundled those three into a new proposal.
“That’s where we’re at. I think the compromise is to at least get something to the voters this November I think it’s important that we get something,” said City Council President Ken Sanchez.
Those three items were voted on. Councilors did agree to push them forward to voters by an eight to one margin. They also made it clear, having the power to approve the fire and police chiefs is their top priority on that list.
Now, the mayor has until week’s end to sign off on them. His office has said he’d like those issues to go to voters, even though he may not agree that council should be able to approve and remove the police and fire chiefs.
There is not enough room on the ballot for all three items. Bernalillo County commissioners will meet next week to decide which items will make the November’s ballot, which is why councilors stated the measure dealing with the police and fire chiefs is their priority.