New Mexico and Albuquerque have an opportunity to dramatically improve our state and city. How?
BY DAN KLEIN
Peace officers know things that most people don’t ever recognize.
We know when the economy is good because we see less violent crime. Child abuse, robbery, etc. drop when you have good jobs and people are working. On the flip side, cops know when something is going wrong when we see these crimes increase. Crime in New Mexico has been increasing for several years. It’s the economy.
New Mexico and Albuquerque have an opportunity to dramatically improve our state and city. How? Opportunity for an economic revival in New Mexico can be found in the “religious freedom” laws that are sweeping through other states.
Crime in New Mexico has been increasing for several years. It’s the economy.
Georgia’s legislature passed a religious freedom law that says people cannot be forced to attend same sex marriages (like pastors and photographers). It also allows “faith-based” organizations to refuse to hire refuse services to individuals who act in ways that violate the organization’s faith. This law allows LGBT people to be denied services throughout Georgia. The governor of Georgia smartly vetoed this bill, but only under the threat of economic disaster.
Companies such as Disney, Home Depot, Coca-Cola and the NFL threatened to move out of Georgia if the bill was signed into law. Conventions from around the country and world threatened to boycott Atlanta. The “Walking Dead” television show said that Georgia would be dead to them if this became law.
The “Walking Dead” series should come to Albuquerque, where the survivors start out during the annual Balloon Fiesta. The zombie virus strikes, and the survivors escape to the Tram in a balloon. They create a sanctuary atop Sandia Crest, where they look out and see herds of zombies in every direction. They access their food and water using the Tram. They roam deserted Sandia and Los Alamos laboratories. They go to Roswell in search of an alien cure, and then proceed to Carlsbad because survivors are hiding in the caverns. Why are we not doing this?
North Carolina’s governor signed into law a religious discrimination bill that immediately prompted PayPal to pull 400 future jobs from Charlotte. Those jobs should be moved to Albuquerque, where we welcome everyone. Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert because of this law. Gov. Susana Martinez should be on the phone to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, her buddy, to get Springsteen to hold the concert at the Spaceport. What a way to introduce the world to Spaceport New Mexico!
Other companies threatening to boycott North Carolina are Dow Chemical, Biogen, IBM, American Airlines and Apple. Our governor and mayor should be on the phone with them immediately and inviting them to New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, where everyone is welcome. The NBA is considering moving its All-Star Game from Charlotte in 2017. Our politicians should be doing everything they can to land the game in The Pit in 2017!
Mississippi’s governor signed into law a bill allowing people to deny services to the LGBT community. Albuquerque and New Mexico should be welcoming the LGBT community with open arms. We should be doing a media blitz, telling the LGBT community to come to New Mexico and be welcomed.
Several state governments have now banned business travel to Mississippi. New Mexico should be inviting all those states to come here instead. AT&T, Tyson Foods, Nissan, Toyota and Levi Strauss do major business with Mississippi and expressed outrage at its discriminatory law.
Tennessee and South Carolina are considering bills that would discriminate against our fellow citizens under the guise of religious freedom. Both states have many Fortune 500 companies that are outraged. New Mexico should be talking to those companies right now to move them here.
In many of these discriminatory states, the No. 1 employer is the federal government. Martinez should be talking to President Obama to move those workers to New Mexico. We love the federal government!
The conversation needs to start today to move these companies here. We need not worry about a trained workforce because most of these companies would move their employees to New Mexico.
One of New Mexico’s great strengths is its diversity. We are a multicultural state that does not discriminate. Everyone is welcome in New Mexico and Albuquerque. The mistakes other states are making are our way out of our economic gloom.
Gov. Martinez and Mayor Richard Berry cannot let this moment pass. They must seize this moment to give the New Mexico economy that boost by bringing disenfranchised businesses to the Land of Enchantment.
Dan Klein is a retired Albuquerque police sergeant. Reach him via Facebook.
(Photo credit: equalitynm.com)