Albuquerque City Council

Albuquerque Pushes Rate Hike to Clean Up Bums’ Trash

Why clean up trash for free when you can increase taxes and spend $2.2 million dollars on it?

That’s the proposal before your ever omniscient leaders.

Faced with growing piles of garbage left by growing hordes of homeless people, the Albuquerque City Council has a “new” idea to hike garbage rates on residents to fund cleanup crews around the city.

If they haven’t heard it before, listen now: being “new” does not automatically make an idea “good.”

from Douglas Peterson’s Twitter page.

Littering is already illegal. As is dumping. Fines range from $50 to $500 and can result in up to 90 days in jail. Public defecation has to be illegal too, right?

But instead of arresting the people who treat Albuquerque like a gas station bathroom, City Council is shifting the onus from the perpetual offenders to the perpetually offended.

Their 6% per month rate hike for garbage collection would generate $2.2 million, giving the city an enorme montaño of dinero to hire another 17 to 20 employees to deploy to all quadrants of the city to pick up trash.

I’ll give you a moment to do that math.

Yep. $2.2 million for 17 people is $129,000 per person. To pick up trash. That isn’t theirs. Or yours. On your dime.

Sure, some of that money probably goes to disposal and vehicles and fuel and hazmat suits needed to scoop up the fecal landmines splattered across the Duke City (had to do it). Still, if you have more common sense than the average Albuquerque City Council member, you’re scratching your head wondering if your six-year-old could come up with a better plan.

Short answer: they could.

Long answer: Rather than playing nanny to the lifetime criminals desecrating La Villa de Alburquerque, simply arrest the offenders, fine them, and commit them to enough hours of community service to clean up their own shit.

That, of course, is easier said than done. When the city has more than enough money to lure in police officers but can’t meet five-year-old staffing benchmarks, enforcing laws becomes more of a pipe dream than a possibility.

Local business owner Douglas Peterson tweets almost daily about the loitering and vandalism of his properties, and, recently, how the police (if they show up at all) refuse to do anything about it.

In 2015, the city picked up transients and paid them $9 an hour to clean up trash. The program was short-lived. Why work when the city and state will give you free meals, healthcare, and housing, while a few hours on a street corner will fund the drugs and booze?

ABQ Breaks The Silver Rule, Keeps Homelessness Rampant, May 16, 2021

It wasn’t very long ago — right before Mayor Tim Keller’s re-election campaign, if our memory serves us correctly — when city leaders and the state attorney general held a press conference affirming the hard-to-swallow fact that petty crimes fund violent crimes. Six months later the city still won’t prosecute pretty crimes, criminals are emboldened, the homicide is on track to surpass last year’s record (which itself surpassed the previous year’s record), and city leaders in all their wisdom don’t pause for a moment in their confident march to continue the destructive policies that have made Albuquerque a little Los Angeles. 

You can’t fault people for not wanting to join the police force. It’s dangerous, thankless, and increasingly criminal to uphold the very laws you’re sworn to enforce. 

Nor can you fault residents, who’ve more than done their part. They’ve forfeited tens of millions of dollars a year in taxes to “help” the homeless, and it hasn’t made a bit of difference. Statistically, in fact, for every dollar they give another hand appears.

Since it has proven to be an objective failure, how about you stop doing for others what they can do for themselves? Hold people accountable for their own actions, stop charging the innocent for the crimes of the guilty, and force the people who make Albuquerque look like LA clean up their own messes.

That is your cleanup crew. They pay off their fines at a rate of $11.50 an hour, and it not only cleans the trash; it incentivizes work and creates a disincentive for criminality.

Which is the exact opposite of a tax hike.

This isn’t rocket science.

Albuquerque deserves more from its city leaders. If they don’t stand up, the problems will only get worse.

3 replies »

  1. So because of the various crises perhaps hindering revenue we needed to bump the city GRT. Now the crisis is abating and we don’t need the bump we now must bump to clean up trash. Please hire some of the homeless to clean up trash like the last mayor did. Please no more on the city payroll.

  2. Just back from Denver where the downtown looks so much cleaner and safer. I noticed that the city posted a notice; anyone loitering in an alleyway pays a $1,000 fine or time in jail. The cleanest alleyways I’ve ever seen in a city. Maybe Keller should spend some time there learning how he could actually improve things here. Except he’d probably just see it as boondoggle travel . . . sigh!

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