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Category: Central Avenue (page 1 of 5)

POST HEARING THOUGHTS

The following is commentary on the ‘State of the A.R.T. project’ – a BRT project underway since May 9th in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The “Boyd Trial” got underway on Wednesday. It was billed as the “Stop A.R.T.” effort. Those that supported it saw it as the lawyer solution, based on the theory that the devolution of modern society has reached the point where only lawyers, guns, and money can carry the day in any situation.

Indeed, such may be the case.

The court action in question was for a preliminary injunction to stop construction on ART filed in federal court. The complaint alleged that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) erred in granting a Categorical Exclusion (CE) regarding an otherwise required environmental assessment report.

At this point we are far beyond the sound-byte capacity of the average modern brain to effectively frame what is really at issue. Please let me explain.

In testimony, the City attorneys (the side supporting ART, and defending it), argued persuasively that the federal FTA funds were only an adjunct to the project, necessary perhaps, but not necessarily necessary. Even the opposition (the Boyd team, joined by the Maria Bautista team) submitted testimony and evidence that the City had other resources with which to ‘stay the course’, to continue building ART, to ‘carry on’.

Much of the hearing was like this – two ships, some might say giants, passing in the night – like the metaphor, or like the metaphor of the blind man and the elephant.

One side saw feet and inches, concrete and guideways, an old corridor often wracked by urban decay and ruin. The other side saw culture, history, historic places sometimes well worn, but well loved. This side spoke too, of the people – not concrete and steel, not artificial ART, but the art of the people.

For those that know, and care about, history it is a very old theme. When the modern technological wonder, the Titanic, went down, some mourned the loss of a ship – S.O.S. – Save Our Ship. Others, more wisely, mourned the loss of the souls – “1,500 Die in Disaster.”

The John Boyd motion was not aimed at saving souls, nor was it aimed at stopping the disaster. The motion, the action, was simply stated – to stop (temporarily) the federal funding, not the City financed ongoing A.R.T. construction.

So it is not surprising that Mayor Berry will officially break ground on Monday, August 1st, on a project actually started nearly three months earlier. It’s what happens when one losses control about following the facts. The actually apt metaphor is smoke and mirrors, or a fit description of what happens when smoke gets in your eyes.

In an Albuquerque Journal op-ed piece today an ex-Albuquerque resident advanced the cyborg theory of the ART project – the idea that part man / part machine creatures are the future of the earth. It is a point that most have missed, the idea that only with the advance of machines can human life carry on. The irony, of course, is that this is not a new idea. The car culture itself was a cyborg event – the wedding of people and machine – the advent of the family car, the personal car, the car culture.

So is the transit to a bus culture the answer, just a change of machines, or the size and scope of the machine component in the cyborg set?

Elon Musk, the electric car and bus guy, has a vision for the future. It supports the car culture, but embraces the bus culture too. He will soon release the next generation, the new generation, of electric bus vehicles. And Albuquerque just can’t let go of the past as Mayor Berry will stick us with buying the last of the last generation of electric battery buses for A.R.T.

The next-generation Elon Musk electric bus is not ancient A.R.T. made in China.

The next-generation Elon Musk electric bus is not ancient A.R.T. made in China.

Complexity is seemingly always a good excuse for not thinking.

MONSTER MASH

Who was to know that there was a party going on?

It’s the Berry Party, or the Berry Bury Party, or the, “Watch us bury Central, and Route 66, and all of your Albuquerque history right in front of your eyes, party.” But, it’s not my party.

In “my generation,” probably like in every generation, we grew up doing everything to music. Music was the mantra, it was almost always there to reveal the meme. And the meme going on right now in Albuquerque, on the good old Route 66 right-of-way, all along Central (Avenue), is what might rightfully be called the Mayor Berry Monster Mash.

Like most things done in the dark, the BRT/ART Project began back in 2012, when Team Berry sent a team of rookies out to Cleveland, Ohio to explore the devastated canyons of downtown Cleveland, a ghost city only exceeded in rust belt dereliction by Detroit and Youngstown, and Buffalo, New York.

What Berry’s rookies failed to receive or perceive was that the “billions” of dollars invested in downtown Cleveland was not because of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), but was because of bad banking decisions and massive federal dollars aimed at saving an historically important US city from the throes of unmitigated economic ruin. The only thing that the “Cleveland Billions” have bought is a Republican convention where Donald Trump will probably be put into power.

Make no mistake, downtown Cleveland, with its BRT ART-type, archetype project is a Zombie type neighborhood that is just short of dead.

But Mayor Berry wants to bring the Monster Mash party thing here, to Route 66, to ‘our‘ Central Avenue. It’s the death wish thing, the desire to bury (Berry), not build up; Berry wants to bury the water pipes, bury Route 66, bury the businesses and the shops and the restaurants of good old Central – and create a Disneyland, carnival land, new thing that is really just a wall, a crypt, more like a mausoleum. The flashing LED light displays beaming out from the “stations” are like the electrodes – flash and dash – a monster in waiting.

In the last several weeks the Berry Boys have been clear-cutting West Central. Most of the large caliper trees in the medians have been cut down, dug up, totally removed – roots and all. Berry says he will plant new ones, but not in the center of Central, that space is reserved, in his monstrous plan, for reinforced pastel cement bus-only guideways, and fast-moving, mostly empty, million dollar plus (each), diesel buses with traffic signal trip-wires to interfere with, and defeat, pedestrians.

Every condemned tree, condemned to death by Berry, should have the right to a last drink of water. That’s where Project Aquarius comes in. Team Berry, under the guise or guidance of the Albuquerque Solid Waste Department (No, I don’t make this stuff up) has been deleting the irrigation, the sprinklers, the water median system all along Central. Pipes are severed, cut, abandoned and buried (Berryed).  Of course the Department Head denies it. It’s not the first time they’ve lied. The deconstruction that was promised not to begin until mid July actually began on May 9th – just for starters.

Not everyone in Albuquerque gets out to West Central where the ‘reign of ruin’ is raining down. Not everyone has gone out to see it, to be a witness first hand. Not everyone has noticed the old retro lights of central Central as they are torn down, consigned to Berry’s “scrap heap of history.” Berry’s idea of “new” is not mid-Century modern, but old style crossarms tacked up tackily on old wooden PNM poles. The Monster Mash, clearly, is not a class act.

The bad news is that most people have to see something before they are willing to say something to stop it. The good news is that there is now a lot to see all along Central. Anyone can bear witness to the fact that Central and Route 66 through Albuquerque is dying.

I have filed, and obtained, an initiative petition to stop it – to stop the monster mash, the madness, the drive to death and to ruin – to Stop A.R.T.

All anyone needs to do, is to sign it. As soon as the required number of signatures, from the required number of Albuquerque registered voters, are obtained the issue goes to a vote by the City Council, and if the council fails to do the right thing, it goes on the ballot. We can say “No” before Congress even gets close to granting the funding.

And maybe, that’s where the party gets really fun, as the Berry contractors are hit with the all but inevitable clawbacks.

PROJECT AQUARIUS

At NOON on SUNDAY June 26th, 2016, at the ROUTE 66 ARCH just east of COORS BOULEVARD on West Central people will gather to water the trees in the Central Avenue medians. The progression of watering will move from the west, progressively east.

Project Aquarius begins this Sunday at Noon.

Project Aquarius begins this Sunday at Noon.

ART PROJECT LAWYERS, GUNS & MONEY

the lawyer track

The vast majority of the people in Albuquerque who know anything about the BRT / ART Project are opposed to the project. Probably 85% of the businesses located along Central Avenue / Route 66 in Albuquerque are opposed to the project. But there is a “rub.”

The rub in this case is the propensity to believe that in modern America only lawsuits and lawyers have any power to change things, meaning, in this case, to challenge the power of the politicians and very big business to change and rearrange and needlessly mess with things – meaning, in this case, mess with the lives of fairly simple and ordinary people just trying to make a living, feed a family, and reasonably get by.

So, virtually the day after the Albuquerque City Council voted to “accept” $69 million dollars in federal funding, and to approve an immediate $17 million in available city taxpayer funds for the project, the lawyers moved in, filed suit, and began asking everyone they could for all available money.

The meme, and the message, is clear: “Lawyers are the Big Guns, and lawyers run best when they have lots of money.” The clearly implied secondary message is that with the “Big Guns” approach in play, you don’t really need “small guns,” “smaller guns,” or a “no gun” alternative approach, or approaches.

Who believes in discipline anymore?

Who believes in discipline anymore?

The lawyer track is about the “one size, fits all” mentality. It is not about the “loose lips, sink ships” reality, or accepting the fact that there are third generation torpedoes and hypersonic cruise missile weapons systems that are real game-changers (metaphorically). The argument here is that just maybe, “ART imitates life.” In a town that likes to think that it makes movies, the parallel logic should not be so hard to understand and apply.

 

Please do not get me wrong. I would love it if the three (3) lawyers involved, two of which are working virtually for free, actually could prevail in federal court against the 10 or 12 very experienced and capable federal lawyers, and city lawyers, and private $800 per hour corporation lawyers that are arrayed against them.

However, when stakes are as high as they are for Albuquerque, for Central Avenue, for Route 66, and the future, would it be unreasonable to think that someone might be willing to arrange for a few thousand dollars to be devoted to a “Plan B?”

The federal hearing to hear the Motion for an Injunction to “stop the ART Project” in Albuquerque is set to begin On July 11, 2016, just three (3) weeks from now.

Three weeks is not a lot of time to come up with plans, communicate ideas and possibilities, and to get everyone on board in the “Stop ART” effort to just totally be calm and chill if the lawyers come up empty and join (metaphorically) Davy Jones in his locker. This (alternative) good use of time could happen, but right now it is Not happening. I really wish it were not so.

I’ve tried very hard to obtain a location for an exhibit that communicates why Central Avenue and Route 66 are so important and so loved in Albuquerque – just the way it is, but that could easily and inexpensively be made so much better.

The exhibit would also present the BRT/ART Project just the way it has been planned, with HDR Drawings and plans, the real deal, not the flash-drive type illustrations that the Mayor Berry Team promotes.

"Pay to Play" fare machines are at the heart of the ART Project.

“Pay to Play” fare machines, white polka dots, and a pastel colored Route 66 corridor, are at the heart of the ART Project.

If people could actually see every page of the plans, end-to-end, arranged on a table, even the few supporters of the project, I believe, would move to be quickly against it.

The exhibit has been planned, would be fun, would be inexpensive to do, and is very doable. The problem is time, time is running out in the “Land of Mañana.” And with time running out the question for many, both businesses and people, is it time to leave, or time to stay and fight?

I need a little help here, people. Plan “B” takes a bit of time, a bit of money too. I may work for free, but ink and paper, posters, things like that really aren’t free, or “free and easy.”

My email address is cityofnikko@gmail.com

 

BECAUSE CLEVELAND IS SO MUCH LIKE ALBUQUERQUE

New Mexico Business Weekly

Original Article by Damon Scott – Editorial Researcher
October 18, 2012 – Thursday (7:05 AM MDT)

Albuquerque officials were in Cleveland this week in the hopes of gathering ideas that will improve and expand the city’s transit system.

City directors and business people toured Cleveland’s bus rapid transit system Oct. 17. The transit system in Cleveland, is also known as The HealthLine. It began operations in 2008. (6.6 mile route distance is HERE.)

[See: Healthline BRT Station in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, so much like Route 66 in Albuquerque?]

The HealthLine comes within a half mile of more than 200,000 employees and 58,000 households. In three years its ridership increased more than 60 percent over the regular bus routes that formerly ran along the corridor.

[See: How within seven (7) years the BRT system has all but eliminated ALL car traffic, and most pedestrian traffic, and all bicycle traffic, on the BRT corridor HERE – August 2015 Google image.]

[See: At the same intersection pictured above, the “FOR LEASE” signs for empty businesses in 2015 in downtown Cleveland are very evident HERE.]

[See: So many empty businesses after 7 years of BRT in downtown Cleveland – HERE, and HERE.]

[See: How the Federal Express and UPS trucks entirely block the only car traffic lane while they “do their business.” HERE. Note: There is so little traffic left that nobody cares if cars use the “BUS ONLY” lanes left in Cleveland now.]

“We believe that The HealthLine and a potential future bus rapid transit system in Albuquerque could share many commonalities,” Bruce Rizzieri, director of ABQ Ride said in a news release. “An Albuquerque [bus rapid transit system] running along Central [Avenue] could help revitalize this corridor — similar to the revitalization [in Cleveland] and could provide more timely transit service … ”

Some of the attributes of the system include dedicated lanes and strategically located stations, not just stops, according to officials.

The HealthLine has also helped spur new developments in the form of the rehabilitation of old buildings into housing and retail centers, as well as major expansions of a nearby university, museum and hospital.

“I’m really impressed with the renaissance of this area of Cleveland … and the revitalization,” Kurt Browning, an Albuquerque developer/builder said. “And I think there’s probably opportunities like this along Central Avenue — [on] old Route 66 in Albuquerque.”

The trip is part of ABQ Ride’s “Central Avenue Bus Rapid Transit” study. Beginning November 20, ABQ Ride will schedule a series of six public meetings to get ideas and opinions from the public about the project.

Details of the time and locations of meetings are not yet available.

Note: Reproduced here as a vital document pertinent to public knowledge and discourse pursuant to the expenditure of very large amounts of public money.

Bruce Rizzieri – Director, City of Albuquerque Transit Department (aka: ABQ Ride).

Kurt Browning – Chief Development Officer, Titan Development.

Note: So many of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) Project images used on the brtabq.com website are images picked up on this 2012 visit to Cleveland (Ohio). The demographic description of Cleveland is HERE. Cleveland has a declining population, is 53% African American, 10% Hispanic, and has virtually no Native Americans. The city is 325 miles east of the starting point of Route 66 in Chicago.

The claims that “BRT” is behind the $3.5 billion “reinvestment” in Cleveland is spurious. Even if it were true, the reality is that in the last two years most downtown “investment” schemes in Cleveland have stopped or stalled, as the photographs of today’s Cleveland (linked above) clearly show and demonstrate.

Why would anyone with reasonable intelligence think that the wet, “water city” of Midwest Cleveland is anything like the very dry “desert city” of the West, Albuquerque?

SAVING CENTRAL AND KEEPING ROUTE 66 WELL AND ALIVE

The Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, has come up with a proposal that would destroy Route 66 through Albuquerque, and with that destruction, would destroy many of the historic landmarks and businesses and places along Central Avenue, the right-of-way where Route 66 lives.

Pursuant to a proposed BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) scheme, he plans to replace the traditional black asphalt of Route 66 with expensive, and garish, pastel colored cement. Instead of the beautiful landscaped medians and trees, he plans to construct elevated and dangerous bus platforms and exclusive “bus lanes” where vintage automobiles, motorcycles, and other cars and trucks will never be allowed to travel.

Instead of the traditional white lines of Route 66 he plans to put in more U-turn signs, and lanes, than ever existed in the 2,456 total mileage of all of Route 66 across America. And this would occur in just the short length of 8.75 miles of the project. It’s madness.

However, that is just the beginning of the Mayor’s madness. If one studies his “plans,” his “proposal,” his drawings, and illustrations, and the antics associated with the whole way he has gone about it, meaning calling BRT “ART,” and thinking it is Art, then one can only come to the conclusion that Mayor Berry is artless, if not totally clueless.

These are strong words. But, when a City that could benefit from the good life is, instead, condemned by a bad Mayor with a bad project, to die, holding back on speaking up, and speaking the truth, and stating things forcefully, is best not condemned. In these economic times there are few chances for second chances; in Albuquerque there is no chance for ruining the City and then being able to once again “start over.”

THE BERRY PLAN:

The “Berry Plan” is really quite simple. Use free federal dollars to make lots of money for “contractor friends,” then ask these friends to finance the “Berry Run” for Governor in year 2018. Then, as governor, repeat, repeat, until the financial coffers run dry, and the bonding runs dry, and the debt for the (failed, mishandled) projects takes just about everyone onto a financial “road to ruin.”

Phase I is the BRT/ART Project. It involves two long years of the destruction, deconstruction, and eventually partial reconstruction of Central. It involves millions of cubic yards of concrete and cement, tons and tons of rebar (reinforcing steel) all sold to Albuquerque by, and to the benefit of the “Berry Boys.”

Proposed Denver & disaster at the Route 66 De Anza Motel.

Official cabq proposed “Denver disaster” at the site of the historic Route 66 De Anza Motel.

The concrete is colored to a “Santa Fe brown – adobe theme park type color – with splashes of turquoise to match Caribbean type skies. Big white dots add a polka dot effect. The tent-top type BRT bus loading platforms are borrowed from the Denver Airport designs. Berry has thought of everything, except for the infamous murals.

The “bus loading platforms,” misrepresented by Berry as “Stations,” are to be built in the middle of the street, which makes them uniquely dangerous, and also helps to obstruct the efficient movement of trucks and cars. He proves his hatred for cars by getting rid of over half the Central Avenue, Route 66, lanes and even narrows the lanes left to a width of just 11 feet, exactly the width of a Federal Express truck, or UPS truck, or film truck, with mirrors.

Bumper Cars

Bumper Cars

Berry must have really liked “bumper cars” when he was a kid, because now his goal seems to be proposing, and playing, “bumper buses.”

The reality problem is that the real buses and trucks, and even cars, don’t have the big wide rubber baby-buggy bumpers that the real electric ‘blasts from the past’ had when young Berry was playing at the wheel.

I could go on, and on, about the Mayor Berry madness and the damage and carnage that it seems clear that his project and plan will certainly bring.

The only real question seems to be, “Who will put a stop to the Berry madness, and when will the stop to it occur?” The daily damage toll is rapidly rising.

BLACK ASPHALT – WHITE LINES

Route 66 is basically composed of two parts. The first part is the “roadway” itself,  the actual Route 66 Highway – in technical jargon, the R.O.W. The second part is the roadside attractions; the key word being “roadside.”

R.O.W. means right-of-way. The right-of-way is the “border to border” land area within which the actual Route 66 asphalt paving occurs. The pavement is almost never as wide as the right-of-way, the R.O.W. Official highway signs are always within the R.O.W., but are generally located to the side of the pavement along all sections of Route 66.

Every roadside attraction is located outside the R.O.W., meaning along side the right-of-way, but not actually in it. The Route 66 billboards one sees, like the telephone lines, are outside the R.O.W.

Most roadside attractions are privately owned, on privately owned property. They include things like neon signs, diners and restaurants, motels and hotels, campsites, trailer parks, movie theaters and drive-ins, curio shops, art galleries, trading posts, gift shops, gas stations, local museums and exhibits, shops and stores.

There are huge questions about who actually owns much of the R.O.W. of Route 66. All land under federal highways is under the jurisdiction of the state in which the highway is located. Each state receives federal highway funds with which the state maintains, or with other funds, helps maintain, the federal highway.

In “open country” things may be fairly simple. Within towns and cities the situation is often more complex.

“Jurisdiction” is not necessarily “ownership.” This distinction is most obvious in the case of “Indian Lands.” The lands of many Native people is held to be, and by treaty is, “sovereign.” However, in many cases, like in the case of Route 66, the roads were built before full treaty rights were established, or fully recognized, by the United States government.

This situation is further compounded by areas traditionally ruled by Spanish (later Mexican) law. Under Spanish law, generally speaking, roadways are “common lands,” meaning lands open to the people, not “owned” by any individual, corporation, political subdivision, or government. This perspective and reality is very different than the English “common law” tradition that often favors the power of governments and Kings. The treaty of Guadalupe Hildago, the “Mexico Cession,” establishes the basis for protection of traditional Spanish law rights in cession treaty areas.

Areas of Route 66 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are effected.

 

 

FAR WEST CENTRAL – ROUTE 66

It is difficult to tell the story of America’s “Mother Road,” Route 66.

Many remember it as an icon of the 1950’s – Wurlitzer jukeboxes, chrome, stainless steel diners, motels and motor courts, an abundance of neon.

A world of Wurlitzer.

A world of Wurlitzer.

To others it is more about cars – 57 Chevy’s, 57 Cadillacs, Harley motorcycles, or an ancient “Indian” motorcycle or two.

1950's Black Hawk

1950’s Black Hawk

Either way, it is about the road, the Mother Road – the thunder road, a route through the great western desert with Mesas and jack rabbits and jackalopes too.

Joseph City, Arizona - Jack Rabbit Trading Post sign.

Joseph City, Arizona – Jack Rabbit Trading Post sign.

Route 66 is the Grand Canyon, is Acoma, is Grants, and Tucumcari, and Gallup, New Mexico – not just San Bernardino or the end of the line at California State 41 – before they realigned it, changed it, diverted it to end in Santa Monica at, some said, the end of the pier.

Neon and light on a Route 66 night.

Neon and light on a Route 66 night.

For the past 90 years Route 66 has been a symbol of American freedom. It’s not about a flag, not really about the military, it is about something far greater, something more. Route 66 is about the 1950’s, about an era of prosperity and hope. It is about the twenties, about wanton abandon. There is a 1930’s Route 66 – trailers, and travails, and rusted out cars that were all that some people had to keep going.

A Buick alternative to the Route 66 motel.

A 1950’s Buick alternative to the Route 66 motel.

For much of the way Route 66 went through, and was stolen from, “Indian Country.” The underlying land was tribal land, Native lands, the land of the Earth Mother, from which the “Mother” road owed her existence.

The Mother Road rides the back of Mother Earth.

The Mother Road rides the back of Mother Earth.

West of Albuquerque, on what may be known, or called, “Far West Central” may be found a few relics of an earlier time, the discards and savings from the times of decision. Route 66 in New Mexico is like a lake, a stream, a reflection. We look at it, look in, look within – and we can see what we longed for, what we lost, what perhaps is still there.

Some wish we could go back, take the road again, do it over. And maybe… perhaps …. it is not too late. Yes, the dark night is upon us; but always above us is that great New Mexico sky.

Night sky over Bisti Badlands in New Mexico.

Night sky over Bisti Badlands in New Mexico.

I present a few pictures from along the Route 66 frontage road that follows the new Interstate “I-40” Highway. Make no mistake, the old road is actually higher, especially west of nine mile hill, but you will have to take it, see for yourself, to see what I mean. Happy journey.

If this car can do the full 2,448 miles of Route 66 and still make it back to Albuquerque then there is still hope for you.

If this car can do the full 2,448 miles of Route 66 and still make it back to Albuquerque then there is still hope for you.

And the big wheel keeps on turnin'. The hubcap is bogus, but the rubber is right.

And the big wheel keeps on turnin’. The hubcap is bogus, but the rubber is right.

Why did the power line cross the road? To get to the other side.

Why did the power line cross the road? To get to the other side.

A 1950 Hudson Commodore is positioned in front of a chrome travel trailer at what was originally named the Hill Top Motel, after Mr. Hill.

A sky blue 1950 Hudson Commodore is positioned in front of a chrome travel trailer at what was originally named the Hill Top Motel, a motel owned by Mr. Hill.

The Hill Top Motel is now called the Enchanted Trails RV Park. Built in the early 1940's it may have been a resting stop for Atomic scientists driving in from California on their long road to the Los Alamos lab.

The Hill Top Motel is now called the Enchanted Trails RV Park. Built in the early 1940’s it may have been a resting stop for Atomic scientists driving in from California on their long road to the Los Alamos lab.

This FAA radar dome on Lost Horizon, at the top of a Route 66 hill can be seen for miles and "covers" at least 1/4 of a million miles of U.S. airspace.

This FAA radar dome on Lost Horizon, at the top of a Route 66 hill, can be seen for miles, and “covers” at least 1/4 of a million square miles of U.S. airspace.

Under the Interstate east of the Rio Puerco bridge. The 'light at the end of the tunnel' is the very bright light of the New Mexico sun.

Under the Interstate, east of the Rio Puerco bridge. The ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is the very bright light of the New Mexico sun.

 

ART Project (Environmental) Impact Report (et al.) Federal Records Complaint

This post contains the full text of the hand-delivered letter of June 3, 2016, regarding the Rules Violations that have prevented approximately 2,700 pages of Albuquerque BRT/ART Project public records, filed with the federal court, from being made available to the general public.

Of the 2,700 pages, there are evidently approximately 1,000 pages that are alleged, by the FTA, to constitute “environmental” studies done by the City of Albuquerque that support and justify the FTA’s decision to grant a “Catagorical Exclusion” to the requirement of further, even more exhaustive, impact studies regarding the ART Project.

A fair and reasonable evaluation and assessment of the impact study and the reasonableness of the FTA in granting the exclusion cannot be made by the public, if the public records are not made public. As a consequence of this fact, Donald Clayton was required to write the following letter:

June 3, 2016

Matthew Dykman
Clerk of Court
United States District Court
District of New Mexico
Office of the Clerk
333 Lomas Boulevard NW – Suite 270
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Honorable M. Christina Armijo
Chief United States District Judge
United States District Court
Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse
333 Lomas Boulevard, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

HAND DELIVERED DOCUMENT

THIS IS A PUBLIC RECORD

Mr. Dykman:

Reference is made to case No. 1:16-cv-00252-KG-KBM; captioned, in part, as it may be deduced from the record, in the attached Exhibit ‘A’.

Reference is also made to: District of New Mexico / United States District Court document http://www.uscourts.gov/court-records, and: United States District Court District of New Mexico Local Rules of Civil Procedure (December 1, 2014).

By such reference the contents herein referenced are incorporated into this communication.

Synopsis:
On June 2, 2016, at approximately 2:30 PM, I (hereinafter: “Mr. Clayton”) requested from Court Clerk Staff (hereinafter: “staff”) information regarding the review, and the possible obtainment of copies, of Court mandated submissions of the Administrative Record pursuant to Case No. 1:16-cv-00252-KG-KBM, a public court record.

Pursuant to information contained in Court document #37 in the aforementioned case, the public record is composed of approximately 2,700 pages of information electronically transmitted to the federal judge assigned to the case, and to a select group of legal counsels involved.

In what is believed to be an extraordinary and wrongful procedure, the above referenced information (public court record) was hand-delivered to unknown staff on June 1, 2016, without documentation or identification being recorded by those involved in the event. The form of the hand-delivery was in the form of a physical object, described in document #37 as a “DVD.”

Page #2.

Mr. Clayton requested from staff a copy of the DVD. His request was met with argument by staff, claiming that the DVD was not, or may not be, a public court record. Mr. Clayton was informed by staff that he would not be able to either review the contents, nor obtain a copy of the DVD through staff. Further, Mr. Clayton was instructed to request the desired information from the select group of legal counsels involved. Staff acknowledged that such legal counsel had no legal obligation whatsoever to comply with, or even give answer to, such a request.

After three (3) staff T.O.’s (employee turn overs), Mr. Clayton was introduced to Nicole Gassner, a staff supervisor and fourth staff T.O., Ms. Gassner, who repeated the previously stated staff communications.

Mr. Clayton asked to speak to the Clerk of Court, Mr. Dykman. Ms. Gassner stated that that would not be possible, but records requests had to be in writing and “had to be communicated by written letter.” Mr. Clayton was specifically told that there was no email address for Mr. Dykman, or for the Office of the Clerk.

Mr. Clayton asked Ms. Gassner about the timeliness of a possible reply if a written request was tendered. Ms. Gassner stated that there “were no rules,” but that usually it “didn’t take too long” and it should not be more than “a couple of days.”

Applicable Rule and Law:
District of New Mexico / United States District Court document http://www.uscourts.gov/court-records, states, in relevant part: “Your request can be made via email, or in person.”

The directive further states, “Copy requests, in general, may be completed within 2-3 hours.” Note: Exceptions are made for documents that do not apply to the situation.

It is noted that the Fee Schedule (http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/fees/electronic-public-access-fee-schedule) has no provision for any charge for reproducing a “DVD.” The reason is clear, the submission of a non-paper hand-delivered physical object does not comport with the published Rules of the Court pursuant to document filings.

This fact is made clear by United States District Court District of New Mexico Local Rules of Civil Procedure (December 1, 2014); which states, in relevant part: “I SCOPE OF RULES, RULE 1.5 Definitions. (f) “electronic transmission” includes, but is not limited to: facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic data transmission. (italics, underlining, and bold type added).”  A DVD is not, pursuant to FCC regulations, an “electronic transmission.” The DVD was physically hand-delivered, not “transmitted.” [Note: the data sent to counsel originated in Washington D.C., ending in New Mexico. The FCC has jurisdiction over such interstate communications. It is unknown by what Interstate regulated trucking company the DVD was delivered.]

The staff was not remiss in accepting the DVD. Local Rules specifically require (at 10.3 (a)) that “The Clerk will not refuse to file any document because it is not in proper form.” However, the Clerk is required to give a party “written notice” of the deficiency. The assumption is that the notice is timely, but no rules have been identified as to the actual time allotted.

Page #3

Summary and Complaint:
Staff failed to communicate to Mr. Clayton, proper Rule information; staff did not observe written rules. Most significantly they failed to produce the court documents that staff admitted were in their possession, and had not been deemed, at the time, to be “non-conforming.”

Mr. Clayton is entitled to view a copy of the document submitted, in its entirety, without charge (See: Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule). Mr. Clayton is entitled to obtain an electronic
version of the document for a fee of $3.00. Mr. Clayton is entitled to obtain select copies of the document at the rate of 10 cents per page.

Request:
Mr. Clayton herein requests that he be permitted to review the document within 2 hours. Please notify me by telephone: 505 / 842-1—, or by email: cityofnikko@gmail.com

Further Complaint:
It is the information and belief of Mr. Clayton that substantial bad faith by the FTA has caused this dangerous, destructive, illegal, and wanton situation.

The complaint is far too vast, and too important, to be detailed here. It is the intent of Mr. Clayton to address the concerns to the Court legally in possession of the court records, at the place of possession. Mr. Clayton shall request remedial measures and also request sanctions.

Sincerely,
Donald Clayton

ALBUQUERQUE BRT/ART PROJECT – TOO BIG NOT TO FAIL

There has been a lot said about building bridges, not walls. Even Richard J. Berry, Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has invoked the idea in regards to his pet project, the Albuquerque BRT/ART Project, that would destroy and terminate the existence of Central Avenue, and of the associated historic Route 66 segment that runs through Albuquerque, on its path along Central.

History, and historic protection, and preservation, are obviously not Berry’s strong points. He obviously probably never studied history; and if he did, he didn’t like it.

A Bit of History:
The above featured image is of a very large and very expensive bridge built with federal funds near Tacoma, in the State of Washington. The original structure, poorly designed, became known as ‘Galloping Gertie’.

Designing bridges for fun.

Galloping Gertie became famous because of the famous and well-known windstorms that frequented the Tacoma narrows. Every time the winds would blow, the roadway would bow, and dip, and even rise. It was a harrowing experience for drivers, much worse for buses and trucks.

The engineers that built it could not fix it, but said instead, not to worry, “it may be a nuisance, but the bridge was not designed to ever fail.”

But “fail” it did. It collapsed one day in an early November, taking out the bridge, and traffic, and all. It is, of course, a cautionary tale.

brt – BUS RAPID TRANSIT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is an innovative, high capacity, lower cost public transit solution that can significantly improve urban mobility.  This permanent, integrated system, uses buses or specialized vehicles, on roadways or dedicated lanes to quickly and efficiently transport passengers to their destinations, while offering the flexibility to meet transit demand. BRT systems can easily be customized to community needs and incorporate state-of-the-art, low-cost technologies that result in more passengers and less congestion.

the berry brt (‘BB’) project

Mayor Berry’s BRT Project is different. It’s like a five year old owning a ‘BB gun‘ without any parental oversight or supervision. 

Instead of designing a roadway (corridor, mixed traffic lane) BRT system with BRT Stations along the side, near sidewalks, Berry conceived of a plan that would have center-of-street, dangerous, elevated platforms, with BRT buses that would travel to and fro on dedicated (bus only) reinforced concrete guideways.

Why?, would be a reasonable question.

The answer appears to be painfully simple. Richard J. Berry is (or was) a construction contractor. All, or most of, his friends are in the construction and contractor business – they build things – they don’t like old things, don’t relate to “historical preservation.” The faster that you can “knock it down” and “build new” and the more often you do that, the greater the money, the bigger the profits.

But why all the steel rebar, and all the cement?

The key to following any proposed project is to “follow the money.” In this case it is worth asking who makes cement (concrete), and who benefits from the sale of steel (rebar). The cement people are GCC, a mega-company owned and operated out of Mexico, with a major plant in Tijeras (New Mexico).

Cement BRT Guideway

Cement BRT Guideway

Real BRT in Albuquerque doesn’t need all that cement for the dedicated guideways, nor for the 20 plus planned elevated platforms. But cement does need rebar (reinforcing bar). And that’s where the steel people cut in, (steel, steal – it’s fun, it’s a pun). It looks like it is Harris or CMC, or maybe both, that are slated to benefit. The fact that Route 66 was about black asphalt, not dyed and colored cement, is irrelevant (they feel), it’s about “new,” not nostalgic, not history, and certainly not about preservation.

the not so great albuquerque wall

Make no mistake, the cement barrier version of BRT for Central is a wall, not a bridge. But the Galloping Gertie cautionary tale is still relevant. Some projects are just so big that they are destined for disaster. People get hurt in disasters, lose their businesses, lose their livelihoods, lose their homes. Often the contagion spreads as the economic fallout “falls out.” People leave town, or flee town, new people fail to move in, soon the entire area business cycle falters and fails; it’s basic, it’s Economics 101.

Other pages on this website get more into the specifics. All posts point out that the ABQ BRT/ART Project is too big, too complicated, apparently too corrupt, that it can’t help but fail.

Berry's Technicolor glasses.

Berry’s Technicolor glasses.

So, we know the end game – it’s a BRT guideway “road to ruin.” It’s a guideway without guidance. The only real issue is how many people and businesses and residents and residences will be hurt and wiped out before there is an end to the madness.

Serve, Preserve, Protect – maybe it’s an oath of office, or maybe the ART Project is a police matter now.