Mountain View Neighborhood Association

Friday, April 2, 2004

Neighbors Target Crime, Pollution

By Carolyn Carlson
Journal Staff Writer
    They live between a major interstate, the river, the city's sewer plant and several heavy industrial plants.
    They are the residents of the Mountain View Neighborhood. Several of them— about 65 to 75 of them— are active members of one of Albuquerque's busiest neighborhood associations.
    Patty Grice is president of the association. While the board positions are unpaid and voluntary, Grice and the rest of the members are dedicated to improving the quality of life in this neighborhood.
    Grice, energetic and active in all aspects of her community, lobbies the state Legislature for money to clean up long-standing pollution problems. She stays on top of education issues and is a link between the neighborhood and various county, state and federal agencies.
    Grice has an army of willing volunteers that stay as busy as she does. Kim Murphy, vice president of the association, sits on the Bernalillo County Open Space Board and past president Mary Ann Reynolds sits on the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Ground Water Advisory Board.
Fighting crime
    Reducing crime is one of the neighborhood association's priorities.
    Theft, drug dealing, gun shootings, pit-bull fights, bird shootings and break-ins are some of the crime problems identified by the neighborhood association.
    At a recent meeting, representatives from the County Sheriff's Department met with residents to brainstorm about how to make their neighborhood safer.
    Several members of the association volunteered to organize a core group of residents to come up with a plan addressing the crime problem and coming up with ways to help the Sheriff's Department curb crime in their area.
    The group came up with "hot sheets" or tip sheets that could be filled out anonymously by residents identifying people or locations involved in criminal activity.
    Since that meeting, the community policing program is showing signs of success in the Kinney Brick and Mountain View neighborhoods, Grice said.
    During the last few months, sheriff's deputies have received dozens of tips and have done several roundups that have netted dozens of criminals.
    "I am really glad to see that the sheriff's department listened to our concerns," Grice said. "I am glad to see that hot sheets work."
Environmental concerns
    According to the county Environmental Health Department data, the South Valley— more specifically the communities of Mountain View, Los Padillas, Pajarito Mesa and San Jose— has three U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-identified Superfund sites, the majority of the county's "Brownfield sites" (abandoned industrial sites) as well as 36 polluting industries that are regulated by the EPA. Thirty-one of those polluting industries are in the Mountain View neighborhood.
    Some of the major polluting industry sites in the Mountain View area include Public Service Company of New Mexico's Persons Station, seven petroleum fuel bulk terminals, Rek Chemical, and 35 other hazardous waste facilities that include a water treatment facility, a dairy, more than 25 auto recycling yards, five gravel and concrete companies, a solid waste landfill, a fertilizer factory and a chicken farm. In addition, there are 16 major air-polluting industries and 66 smaller polluting industries in the area.
    Along with all of those problems, Mountain View is home to the largest underground nitrate plume in New Mexico. The plume is about three-quarters of a mile wide and 30-feet deep. The plume contaminated 61 private wells and two city wells. The plume is not considered a Superfund site.
    The EPA Superfund sites in the South Valley Mountain View area include a petroleum hydrocarbon plume from the Chevron, Texaco and ATA Pipeline tank farms and the old General Electric plant site, which covers about one square mile in the San Jose area. This was added to the Superfund site list in 1983, making federal money available for cleanup.
    Industrial operations at the site contaminated the soil and ground water with chlorinated solvents and other pollutants.
    At a recent neighborhood association meeting, top environmental officials with the state, Bernalillo County and the city of Albuquerque agreed to work together to address serious concerns in the South Valley neighborhood of Mountain View.
    "We want to elevate the issues of the South Valley pollution so people across New Mexico see this neighborhood is a microcosm of many problems found in New Mexico," state Environmental Secretary Ron Curry said at that meeting.
    Curry, Kristine Souzzi, director of the county's Environmental Health Department, and Alfredo Santistevan, director of the Albuquerque Environmental Health Division/Department, all pledged their support for forming a task force to address environmental problems in the Mountain View neighborhood and its surrounding area.
    On Thursday, Grice said the task force is be made up of about 12 people including residents and state and county environmental staffers.
    Grice said she was in Santa Fe on Wednesday meeting with Curry.
    "They are really serious about this project," Grice said.
Improving quality of life
    The association donates $500 per year to the Mountian View Elementary School.
    "This year we presented Mountain View Elementary School with 20 computers," Grice said.
    The computers were donated by the Southside Water Reclamation Plant. The sewer plant, which is in the Mountain View Neighborhood, has upgraded its computer system and decided to give the used computers to the local school.
    Mountain View Principal Audie Brown said some of the donated computers will be placed in the computer lab and others will go into classrooms.
    All the donated computers have Microsoft Windows operating systems loaded on them. Some members of the neighborhood association have also donated software for the children to use, Grice said.
    The association is a member of the Albuquerque Partnership, an organization of city and county neighborhood associations that focus on crime prevention, nuisance abatement and education issues among other issues.
    The association also is a member of the South Valley Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, made up of representatives from other South Valley neighborhood groups.
    Grice said the association is always looking for new members, especially businesses members.
    "We are a group of people who are concerned and dedicated to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in this unique neighborhood," Grice said.
    For more information, contact Grice at 452-9159.
Mountain View Neighborhood Association
  • Crime prevention
  • Environmental issues including air, water and noise pollution
  • Improving the quality of life for area residents
        YEAR FORMED: Early 1970s
  • President: Patty Grice
  • Vice President: Kim Murphy
  • Secretary: Mark Rudd
  • Treasurer: Mary Hall
        MEMBERSHIP: 65 to 75 active members. Yearly dues $5 per household; $15 for businesses. The newsletter is sent to 1,500 households in the neighborhood.
        MEETING AND CONTACT INFORMATION: General meetings Second Tuesday of each month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mountain View Community Center. Contact Patty Grice 452-9159.
        BOUNDARIES: Woodward on the north, Isleta on the south, Rio Grande on the west and Interstate 25 on the east.

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