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City Councilor Klarissa Peña Introducing Series of Bills to Address Inequality in the City of Albuquerque

Five pieces of legislation are being introduced at the August 3rd City Council Meeting.

July 31, 2020

City Councilor Klarissa Peña is introducing a series of bills to address racial and social inequality in the City. The legislation ranges from addressing Community Policing Councils and other Boards and Commissions to prioritizing funding capital programs and projects in underserved neighborhoods.

“This year has highlighted numerous inequities in our communities that continue to plague our family’s” said Councilor Peña. “We’re still in a pandemic that disproportionately effects people of color and those that don’t have access to adequate healthcare. We’re still fighting for social and racial justice. We’re still having tough community conversations about our collective past and finding new ways to acknowledge it and move forward together. These bills could potentially be a step forward in achieving our communities goals of providing everyone a chance to prosper and I thank the Councilors who have joined to co-sponsor some of these bills and working with me to move these initiatives forward and I am proud to be co-sponsoring R-75 with Councilors Borrego and Sena.” 

O-20-27, establishes the Community Policing Council Ordinance and provides the CPC’s support administratively from the Civilian Policy Oversight Agency. Previously, staff and support came from the Albuquerque Police Department. The purpose of the CPC’s is to facilitate regular communication, collaboration, consensus-building, and cooperation between the Albuquerque Police Department and the community.  All community members are encouraged to attend Community Policing Council meetings, to provide comments, and are welcome to participate on Community Policing Council committees. This bill will be formally introduced then referred to a City Council Committee.

R-20-83, co-sponsored with Councilor Cynthia Borrego, this bill directs the City to explore then recommend options for improving the application and appointment process for the City’s Boards and Commissions. Identifying policies or strategies to promote diversity on City Boards and Commissions that better reflect the demographics of the City and decreasing barriers to serving, by eliminating strict disqualification factors and by implementing a more holistic and contextual review of each applicant. This bill will be held over for final action at the August 17th City Council Meeting.

R-20-84, co-sponsored with Councilors Cynthia Borrego and Diane Gibson, directs the City to collaborate with community partners to support employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Office of Equity and Inclusion, the Human Resources Department, the Small Business Office’s Workforce Development Liaison, and other relevant City departments will work with local disability employment providers to explore opportunities for creating supported employment opportunities among persons with disabilities by addressing and updating job application processes to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), targeted recruitment of potential employees, examining City policies that encourage hiring of people with disabilities, and other opportunities to expand employment. This bill will be held over for final action at the August 17th City Council Meeting.

R-20-85, prioritizes a racial equity criterion to guide improved race and ethnic equity policies in the development of the Capital Implementation Program in 2021 and subsequent General Obligation Bond Programs. The bill also prioritizes funding programs and projects in underserved neighborhoods relating to Public Safety, Senior and Community Centers, Libraries, Housing, Transportation, Economic Development and Community Enhancement. Prioritizing improvements for neighborhoods and communities intentionally left behind is a step toward undoing the inequitable system that many communities live with today. This bill will be on the agenda for final action at Monday’s City Council, assuming the request for immediate action is approved.

R-20-80, establishes a community-based process to find solutions for the La Jornada art installation. After removal of the installation in June, the Cultural Services Department formed the Race, History & Healing Project to initiate and support community-centered dialogue in response to community concern about the installation. This bill directs the Administration to complete the process for community input and recommendations for the La Jornada installation. The recommendations will be presented to the Albuquerque Arts Board for review and will then be submitted to the Albuquerque City Council for consideration. This bill will be on the agenda for final action at Monday’s City Council, assuming the request for immediate action is approved.

R-20-75, co-sponsored with Councilors Cynthia Borrego and Lan Sena, this legislation re-affirms and strengthens the City’s commitment to addressing racial and social inequity. This bill sets principals and goals for City departments to achieve in coordination with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, to include use of racial equity toolkits, support of businesses owned by people of color, and workforce development for youth of color, among numerous initiatives. This bill will be on the agenda for final action at Monday’s City Council Meeting.