Two years ago, many of you in the Valley participated in a historic Conservancy District election, electing two reformers—Karen Dunning and Adrian Oglesby. Now it’s time to finish the job at the June 7th MRGCD election. As you may recall, these are notoriously low-turn out elections, something I’ve tried to change. Last year’s task force to make some structural changes in the election process to spur greater participation among those of us in the Valley who pay taxes and are directly affected by this district’s actions yielded precious few meaningful reforms.
But you can make a big impact with your vote.
Things have not changed much at the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, the irrigation district that controls the ditches, dams and levees from Cochiti Reservoir to the Bosque del Apache near Socorro. Maintenance of ditches remains lax, the leadership is the same and there have been few attempts to share benefits with non-irrigators by focusing on flood control problems or increasing recreational opportunities. Yet Bernalillo County taxpayers within the district account for 68% of all of the district’s property tax revenue, and most do not irrigate. And guess what... North Valley property owners pay the lion’s share of these taxes every year. It’s just not fair.
But there is good news! There’s one excellent candidate challenging a long-time Bernalillo County incumbent in the June 7th election in position #2 . His name is John P. Kelly. He’s an engineer, a North Valley resident and he is familiar with water, drainage, and recreation issues from his public service as executive engineer for the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA). Kelly, who retired from AMAFCA last year, is running on a platform of a better balance between urban and rural use of canals and ditches, increased accountability for the tax dollars that we sent to this district, and better maintenance and rehab of the districts waterways. He’s been a champion of trails—not necessarily paved ones—but ones that are well maintained and which control access for non-motorized recreation. For more information contact John at 362-1270.
And for even more information, there is a Conservancy District Candidate Forum sponsored by the Alameda North Neighborhood Association on Thursday. May 19, 2011, 7:00 to 9:00 PM at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center 9800 Fourth NW.
John needs volunteers, contributors and voters. Come and meet him at …
Kelly’s Kick Off Party at Dede’s House May 11 5:30-7:00
I’m hosting a house party so folks can meet John Kelly in about a week. Since the election process is so obscure, we’ll make it simple with applications for absentee ballots available (these ballots need to be notarized when you return them, ugh!) locations of early voting sites, and maps so you can figure out whether you are in the district. There will be food, fun and friend raising. It’s not really a fundraiser, but I’m sure John would accept contributions. I’m at 1821 Meadow View Dr. NW in the near North Valley. Call me at 242-1997 for directions or more information.
A Message from John Kelly….
“One of the reasons I am running for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy Board is the specter of increased flood insurance premiums. MRGCD has ignored its flood protection duties resulting in the chance that FEMA may put the whole North Valley in the flood plain, resulting in as much as a $2,500 hike in homeowners’ flood protection premiums. We’re very fortunate that our Congressman Martin Heinrich has recently bought us a little time on this, something that not even Domenici or Bingaman could do. But the issue is not going away. We need to deal much more aggressively with levy maintenance.”
Voting information, including early voting sites, election-day sites and how to obtain an absentee ballot can be found at www.mrgcd.com