Albuquerque city councilors, allow me to preface the following by stating I sincerely empathize with the less fortunate in our society to include those with mental illness.
However, the thought of placing up to five “safe outdoor spaces” per city council district, let alone one, is asking for trouble. It would not surprise me to see an uptick in police dispatches to these “safe spaces” for fights, violent crimes and narcotics use. Most people don’t want these trashy looking locations anywhere near where they work, live or play. I say trashy because all one has to do is look at some of the encampments that already exist on a smaller scale compared to what is being proposed. You must have seen on TV these encampments in liberal cities such as LA, Portland and Seattle. Is this what you want for Albuquerque?
I hate to say it about a city that I moved to about 66 years ago, but have you ever driven slowly on Central Avenue between Coors and Tramway and taken a hard look at what is our main thoroughfare? It looks like hell: run-down buildings, prostitution, homeless and drug users, no rhyme or reason for the zoning. Now councilors feel the need for weekness and want to consider what will end up being like inner-city ghettos near your constituents. You dump five of these sites in the SE Heights where I was a former area commander, and you will certainly destroy any hope these people have for a better life.
You must admit you can build these “safe places,” but you cannot force people into them, and we will still see the panhandlers, mentally ill and the lazy still floundering on our streets and in our neighborhoods. You cannot force self-improvement on those not willing to help themselves. The city put up signs directing these people to help, and that, from empirical evidence, has failed. We have this growing problem because city government has enabled it through the give-away programs and lack of law enforcement at my and other taxpayer’ expense. Now under consideration is housing them in motels/hotels. Is this going to create more Hotel Circle locations such as we have in the Northeast Heights?
I’m for helping the single parents and downtrodden families until they can get back on their feet. As for the lazy working-age males and females, if they don’t want to get their lives in order buy them a bus ticket and wish them the best of luck on the West Coast where they will be appreciated and accepted with open arms.
What the council has or has not done to this point regarding the growing homeless issue has failed. Learn from the experiences of certain California cities where at the city limits of one city it looks clean, pristine and void of trash and the homeless and just across the jurisdictional line a disgusting mess, syringes, trash, violent crimes.
My concerns are echoed throughout the city; they are not without compassion. Councilors should do their jobs or they may find themselves on the outs come election time.