Saturday, June 11, 2011

Albuquerque GLBT community celebrates with pride

Thousands of folks lined up on Route 66 to watch the 2011 Albuquerque Pride Parade. After breakfast at Mannies Cafe we grabbed a few pics to share the scene with you in this slideshow. And, before you start sending us nasty e-mails, we included pics of the protesters and bible thumpers because they were there and part of the story. The homophobes also were monitored by police and promptly dismissed by most everyone in the crowd for their bigotry and hate mongering.

Now it's off to NM Expo where organizers have set up a foam party, dance tent, and poetry slam at the main street festival.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

GLBT legal issues spotlighted in Pride Week radio ads

Three new Gay Pride Week radio ads, sponsored by gay-friendly law firm Rugge, Rosales & Associates, are putting the focus on legal issues still faced by non-traditional families in New Mexico.

The firm said it hopes the ads raise awareness in the community about couples who are not recognized legally by the state.

“Both Traditional and Same-Sex Families should take steps to ensure that they and their loved ones are protected in the event of illness, death or separation, David Ray Rosales a managing partner at Rugge, Rosales & Associates said.

In one commercial two lesbian mothers discuss their young son and ponder what would happen to them in the event of event of an illness, death or a break-up.
Mother 1: He’s growing up too fast. I just wonder who would take care of him if something ever happened to us.
Mother 2: Since we can’t get married in New Mexico, I don’t know what my rights would be since I’m not legally a stepparent.
Mother 1: And you’re not legally my spouse. What would happen to you if I ended up in the hospital in an emergency situation or if I passed away? What about Jimmy? What about the house, or the business we’ve built? Would you get any benefits?

While New Mexico law prohibits gay marriage and same sex civil unions, Rugge suggests people protect their rights with solid legal planning.

Listen to all three ads:

Bedtime Story

Do You Know
This year’s Albuquerque Gay Pride & Festival begins on Saturday with a parade and later an expo at the New Mexico Expo Center.

Photos @2009 Peter St. Cyr

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

ACLU sues Albuquerque to force redistricting

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico is demanding that the City of Albuquerque reverse its decision to postpone redistricting until after the upcoming city council elections in October 2011.

Yesterday the group filed this lawsuit in state district court.

Data from the 2010 census shows that Albuquerque’s West Side experienced significant population growth, while other areas of the city remained stagnant or shrunk in population. The ACLU said it believes the Albuquerque City Council will dilute the voting power of residents on the West Side.

“At the heart of our democracy is the principle of ‘one person, one vote’,” ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson said. “When one city council district is grossly underrepresented, other areas of the city speak with a louder voice when it comes to making decisions about political leadership, bond proposals, and other important issues that affect us all. Failing to redistrict waters down the vote of citizens living in high-growth areas.”

The City of Albuquerque is divided into nine separate districts, each holding one seat on the city council. By law the boundaries of these districts must be drawn in such a way that each district is roughly equal in population. According to the latest census data, District 1 and District 5—both on the West Side—have 90,170 and 83,165 residents respectively. The remaining seven districts all have constituencies ranging in the low to mid-50,000 range.

For the past three decades following the release of new census data, the City of Albuquerque has moved swiftly to redistrict before the next city council election, ensuring that all areas of the city remained equally represented. This year, with full knowledge of the current major imbalance, the city chose to postpone redistricting until after the October 2011 city council election.

“The entire purpose of census data is to make sure that our government accurately represents who we are and the communities we live in,” ACLU-NM Cooperating Attorney David Urias said. “By ignoring the latest census data, the Albuquerque City Council devalues the votes of almost two-fifths of the city’s population.”

The ACLU claims its lawsuit represents more than 170,000 people living on the city's "underrepresented" West Side, the ACLU of New Mexico asks the court to prohibit the City Council of the City of Albuquerque from holding elections until they have completed redistricting as required under the Constitution.

Cities are constitutionally required to reapportion voting districts every 10 years following the release of federal census data to ensure equal representation among voters.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

State to investigate contamination at mine

The New Mexico Environment Department’s Ground Water Quality Bureau received a Stage 1 Abatement Plan proposal from New Mexico Copper Corporation to investigate surface and ground water contamination at the Copper Flat Mine. The facility is located approximately 5 miles northeast of Hillsboro on NM Highway 152.

Water quality monitoring of monitoring wells and an open pit pool at the facility showed concentrations of total dissolved solids (TDS), sulfate, chloride, manganese, and uranium in exceedence of New Mexico ground water standards during past investigations. The depth to ground water at the site ranges from 0 to 50 feet. In a letter to New Mexico Copper Corporation, NMED required that an Abatement Plan proposal be submitted within 60 days of notification.

The Stage 1 Abatement Plan submitted by the company proposes collecting soil, surface water and ground water samples and installing additional ground water monitoring wells to define the extent of soil and ground water pollution.

New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission regulations require responsible parties to remediate surface and ground water pollution. After the investigation is completed, a Stage 2 Abatement Plan proposal will be submitted to NMED. A public notice of the Stage 2 Abatement Plan proposal will be issued by New Mexico Copper Corporation within 30 days of submitting the proposal to NMED.

The public will have an opportunity to comment on the Stage 2 Abatement Plan proposal and request a hearing or meeting. NMED will seek written comments from the public within 60 days of determining that the cleanup proposal is administratively complete.

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