A pro-bosque Albuquerque City Council majority

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By Richard Barish, Central Group Bosque Issues Chair

Sierra Club and bosque activists volunteered in unprecedented numbers to ensure that Albuquerque has a bosque-friendly City Council.

Mayor Richard Berry has continued to pursue environmentally unsound plans for Albuquerque’s bosque and has given no indication that he has heard the concerns of bosque users. With Albuquerque municipal elections in October, bosque efforts therefore shifted to the political realm, and as a result, Albuquerque now has a majority on City Council that is sympathetic to bosque preservation and other environmental concerns.

After redistricting, the race in the newly redrawn District 2 pitted two incumbents against each other: Isaac (Ike) Benton, a longtime supporter of Club positions, against Roxanna Meyers, a very conservative Republican. With the help of Club and bosque volunteers, Benton coasted to an easy victory.

The real action was in District 7. Originally a three-person race, the Club gave a dual endorsement to the two candidates, including Diane Gibson, who were challenging the incumbent, Janice Arnold-Jones. In light of its dual endorsement, the Club was not active in this race in the October general election, assuming that with three candidates, none would get 50 percent of the vote and that there would be a runoff election where the Club could support whichever of its endorsed candidates survived.

The Club almost paid for its inaction, as it was only when the final votes were reported that Arnold-Jones dropped below 50 percent of the vote.

However, there was a runoff election on Nov. 19 between Gibson and Arnold-Jones.
In the run-up to the run-off, dozens of Sierra Club and bosque activists mobilized to get out the vote for Diane Gibson. Diane prevailed in a tight race. She attributes her victory to the help her campaign got from the considerable number of Sierra Club and bosque volunteers.
Thanks to all of you who came out and helped. This election cycle really shows how the Club can make a difference in local elections.

As a result of our efforts, we now have allies on Council and a majority who are likely to help us advance environmental issues.