For those of you around the United States and the world, who don't know where Albuquerque, New Mexico, I will try to put it on the map for you.
The state of New Mexico, is located in the southwestern part of the United States, with our good neighbors located to the east...the state of Texas; our good neighbors to the north...the state of Colorado; our good neighbors to the west...the state of Arizona; and our good neighbors to the south...the country of Mexico.
The city of Albuquerque, is centrally located in the state of New Mexico, and I like to call it a sleepy, little one-horse town of more that 500,000 people. The University of New Mexico is located here, and this is what the controversy is all about in this recent article...the selling of booze at the University of New Mexico basketball games.
But, before I get to the liquor and basketball arena problem, I want to tell the reader about an incident that happened about two years ago in the state of New Mexico. A man got off an airline and was stupid drunk at the time...he then prodeeded to buy another six-pack at a local convenience story...and was totally stewed when he crashed his rented car into another car in northern New Mexico and killed himself and another entire family!
Governor Richardson then banned this airline from serving liquor while in and flying over the state of New Mexico.
The University of New Mexico areana, was constructed in 1966, and is called 'the pit.' The reason why it is called the 'pit' is because when it was constructed, it was carved out of a hole in the ground...and all 20,000 seats are underground. The 'pit' is one of the top venues in the country, selling out most of its basketball games, and usually finished in the top ten around the country. I been to the 'pit' countless times, and the final game of the Basketball National Championship was held at the 'pit' in the 1980's when North Carolina State won the championship.
But, this piece isn't about basketball...it's about booze and the right to sell it at the basketball arena. There has been controversoy over this issue for a long time in these parts, and finally there has been a decision of the University of New Mexico being denied a liquor license to sell booze at the University Arena (Pit).
The following article was written by Dan McKay, a staff writer for the Albuquerque Journal, and the piece was published by the Albuquerque Journal on November 16, 2010 and is entitled;
"Council Reject Waivers for UNM Alcohol Sales"
Sub-title reads: "Public Safety, disregard for process among reasons cited"
THE ARTICLE READS:
"Don't make plans to run up a bar tab at the 'Pit' or University Stadium. Albuquerque city councilors refused late Monday (11-15), to grant waivers allowing the sale of beer and wine on a limited basis to fans in the high-priced seats at Lobo baskeball and football games.
It wasn't particularily close, either. Councilors voiced concerns about public safety and suggested the University of New Mexico didn't respect their right to weigh in on the issue. The council voted 6-3 to reject waivers for the athletic stadiums. A request for a waiver at the Student Union Building didn't even have enough support to go to a vote.
After the decision, UNM representation didn't say whether they would appeal the jurisdiction dispute to court. 'I don't know what's going to happen next,' said Paul Krebs, UNM's athletic director. 'Personally, I'm disapointed.'
UNM representatives had argued that the city didn't have jurisdiction to consider the waivers because the Pit and University Stadium are on state lands. 'UNM is a constitutionally created entity and must protect its constitutional status, which includes not submitting to the jurisdiction of a local government body,' said UNM attorney Meg Meister told the concilors.
The state Regulation and Licensing Department has said it would not grant UNM liquor licenses without the city waiver, which was first denied by a city hearing officer in early October (2010) after UNM failed to address the required document.
UNM has proposed selling beer and wine to fans in the club and suite level seats. It estimates about 1,200 basketball fans and 1,600 football fans would have access to alcohol sales if licenses were approved. Other seating areas, including the student section, would not be allowed to buy alcohol.
Several concilors bristled at the suggestion they shouldn't have jurisdiction over the matter. Only one councilor, Trudy Jones, said the city doesn't have authority to consider UNM's alcohol sales. Councilor Rey Garduno said it would certainly be City Hall's jurisdiction to handle drunken fans as they leave on city-funded roads and city-funded sidewalks. 'It becomes a public safety issue to the city, and not to the university,' he said.
Others said they didn't like increasing the availability of alcohol, especially in an area where UNM is moving toward more student-focused activities. 'I just think it's clear that it is detrimental,' Councilor Dan Lewis said.
Lewis and Garduno joined Debbie O'Malley, Don Harris, Ken Sanchez and Jones in voting against the waivers. In favor were Brad Winter, Isaac Benton and Michael Cook. A board member of the southeast heights Neighborhood Association said the group had no objection to the waivers. Seven people spoke during the 90-minute hearing.
Mayor Richard Berry's administration spoke in favor of UNM's request, noting that the city issued itself an alcohol waiver for Isotops Park, a city-owned baseball stadium across the street.
(NOTE: The baseball team probably got that liquor license back in the 1950's, when times were different).
UNM officials repeatedly referenced the waiver granted to its neighboring stadium, where alcohol is available to all fans 21 and older. Councilors responded by saying UNM should be held to a different standard because it is a school.
UNM offers beer and wine at no charge to football fans sitting in the End Zone Club. Fans in other suites of University Stadium have been allowed to bring their own alcohol. Alcohol has never been available at basketball games before.
After signing a 10 year lease agreement for a suite at the Pit, Lobo fan J.C. Lopez said the city's decision to deny alcohol sales at UNM games while allowing it at Isotopes (baseball) games is a double-standard. Lopez, however, said he will continue to enjoy attending Lobo games regardless of the alchohol sales.
UNM as said it wanted to offer alcohol sales to stadiums to reward the high-paying fans, who typically donate toward students athlete scholarships and athletic renovation projects."
END OF ARTICLE;
Don't we already have enough drunks and dopeheads in this country? I salute the rejection by the council over UNM. I haven't had a drink in over 20 years, and my life hasn't come to an end without booze! I don't need booze to give me the courage to apply for a job; go out on the dance floor or ask a woman for a date. My life has been better without booze!
I know what booze will do to a person, as I have two alcholic brothers and one alcholic sister, and their lives are in ruin because of booze! One of my brothers has been homeless for over 20 years. I don't need booze to ruin my life...I'm ruining my life just fine without booze, drugs, meth, or paint thinner!
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