ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The majority of the petitions going around town are against the city’s ART project; but one business owner is encouraging people who are in favor of it to stop supporting businesses that are speaking out against it.
In just one week, more than 1,000 people have signed the noARTnoME online petition. It started with one single pledge from Keith West. He’s the owner of Urban Fresh NM and has never been shy about supporting the controversial ART project.
“The reason I’m going against the majority and the reason I’m for this is because, for me, it’s a social justice issue,” West said. “What we need to do is take a step back and look at it from a community perspective.”
Now he’s asking others to do the same by only spending their money at businesses that “believe in investing in our community” and do not display STOP A.R.T. signs. West said the people against the project aren’t taking into consideration the “poverty stricken population” that will benefit from the bus.
“We’re also not even looking at the number of tourists who would probably get from Old Town to Nob Hill even faster,” he said. “All they think about is, ‘Me. My business, what’s it going to do to me?’”
Driving along Central Avenue it’s difficult to find a business that’s not displaying a “STOP A.R.T” sign. Some are worried the petition West started will only make matters worse. West said that’s not the intention.
“I’ve gotten those people who are concerned that my stance is going to hurt their business but they have to understand that their ‘STOP A.R.T’ stance is going to hurt our entire community,” he said.
He also knows his business may be scorned for his unpopular opinion, but said it will be worth it.
“Could it hurt me? Yes, but could it be better for our community? Definitely,” West said.