Mayor Keller responds to city council’s move to end Safe Outdoor Spaces

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Monday, Albuquerque city councilors passed a bill to scrub the Safe Outdoor Spaces language from zoning laws as a new way to essentially kill the idea. But, it sounds like Mayor Tim Keller may be getting his veto pen out again. 

 “There’s a lot of big things we got to work on, this is not one of them,” said Keller. 

Keller did not fully commit to vetoing city council’s latest attempt to end the Safe Outdoor Spaces experiment. But, knowing the council doesn’t have the votes to overturn his veto – it sounds like Safe Outdoor Spaces may be here to stay.

“These were never meant to be a big deal, one way or the other. They’re just another tool that we need to work on homelessness. At this point this, too, this is like the fifth time we’ve looked at this. So, I think our city and council, like, we should just move on,” said Keller. 

An idea the mayor likes is the noise enforcement cameras.

“You know we really like using technology to fight crime. Now, this is a little bit different than crime, but it’s a huge problem in the city,” Keller said. 

The council overwhelming approved a pilot program for cameras, to capture and send citations to drivers who have vehicles that are obnoxiously loud.

“The challenge is, the technology is a lot newer, and there’s always, like, a cost associated with it,” said Keller. “It doesn’t mean that we’ll be able to do it. But, yeah, we should look at this. It’s a good idea.”

The council also passed a resolution, a message to the Roundhouse, asking state lawmakers to reinstate qualified immunity – legal protections for police officers and government actors.

“The funny thing about this issue is, we already have it, at the city. So, this actually is totally irrelevant to the Albuquerque Police Department,” said Keller. 

Keller says APD officers are legally protected by the city.

“This really is political talking points, it’s not actually a real policy question at the city,” said Keller. “This is another good example of – a waste of time at council.”

The big thing to watch for is if the mayor vetoes this latest attempt to end Safe Outdoor Spaces.