There are fourteen (14) candidates for Mayor registered with the Albuquerque City Clerk’s Office for the October 3, 2017 municipal election.
From February 16, 2017 to April 28, 2017 all candidates for Mayor will be given ten (10) weeks to collect 3,000 nominating petition signatures from registered Albuquerque voters.
Candidates for Mayor seeking public financing have from February 16 to March 31, or six weeks, to collect 3,600 qualifying $5.00 donations from only Albuquerque registered voters to secure $370,000 in public financing.
Before signing petitions and donating to candidates, voters should know where candidates stand on the issues they care about and what they will do if elected.
A few questions and issues candidates for Mayor need to think about and disclose their positions on include the following:
City Personnel and Services:
1. Will you replace the current Chief Administrative Officer, City Attorney, Chief of Police, Fire Department Chief, Chief of Staff, Chief Operations Officer and all other current department directors and if so with whom?
2. Are you in favor of a state “right to work statute” that would impact or eliminate city employee unions?
3. Are you in favor of privatizing city services or work such as public safety, the 311 call center operations, the bus system or the maintenance and repair work done at city facilities such as the Bio Park?
APD and Crime:
1. What is your position on the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree and mandated reforms?
2. Should the APD Chief, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chiefs and APD command staff be replaced?
3. Should a national search be conducted for a new law enforcement management team to assume control of APD and make changes and implement the DOJ consent decree mandated reforms?
4. Should the function of Internal Affairs be removed from APD and civilianized under the city Office of Inspector General, the Internal Audit Department and the City Human Resources Department?
5. What are your plans for increasing APD staffing levels and what should those staffing levels be?
6. What would you do as Mayor to enhance civilian oversight of APD and the implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms?
7. Since 2010, there have been 41 police officer involved shootings and the city has paid out $50 million to settle deadly force and excessive use of force cases. Should the City return to a “no settlement” policy involving alleged police misconduct cases and require a trial on the merits or a damages jury trial?
8. What are your plans or solutions to bringing down high property and violent crime rates in Albuquerque?
9. Should APD personnel or APD resources be used in any manner to enforce federal immigration laws and assist federal immigration authorities?
1. What strategy would you implement to bring new industries, corporations and jobs to Albuquerque?
2. Albuquerque’s major growth industries include health care, transportation, manufacturing, retail and tourism with an emerging film industry. What programs would you propose to help or enhance these industries?
3. Do you intend to keep the current Director of the City’s Economic Development Department and support staff?
4. To what extent should tax increment districts, industrial revenue bonds and income bonds be used to spur Albuquerque’s economy?
5. What financial incentives do you feel the city can or should offer and provide to the private sector to attract new industry and jobs to Albuquerque, and should that include start-up grants or loans with “claw back” provisions?
6. What sort of private/public partnership agreements or programs should be implemented to spur economic development?
7. What sort of programs or major projects or facilities, if any, should the city partner with the State or County to spur economic development?
8. What programs can the city implement to better coordinate its economic development with the University of New Mexico and the Community College of New Mexico (CNM) to insure an adequately trained workforce for new employers locating to Albuquerque?
9. Are you in favor of the enactment of a gross receipt tax or property tax dedicated strictly to economic development, programs or construction projects to revitalize Albuquerque that would be enacted by the City Council or be voter approved?
10. Do you support the continuation of the “Innovate Albuquerque” program or its expansion?
11. What programs can Albuquerque implement to insure better cooperation with Sandia Labs and the transfer of technology information for economic development.
Planning and Development:
1. What is your position on the two-year rewrite of the City’s comprehensive plan known as ABC-Z project which is an attempt to bring “clarity and predictability” to the development regulations and to attract more “private sector investment”? Critics say it is nothing more than the “gutting” of sector development plans by the development community and to repeal all sector development plans designed to protect neighborhoods and their character.
2. Should the City of Albuquerque seek the repeal by the New Mexico legislature of laws that prohibit city annexation of property without county approval?
3. What is your position on the Santolina development project on the West side and should it be annex by the City?
1. Should the City of Albuquerque have representation or be included on the Albuquerque School board, the University of New Mexico Board of Regents and the Community College of New Mexico Board?
2. What should the City do to help reduce high school dropout rates?
3. Should the City of Albuquerque advocate to the New Mexico legislature increasing funding for early child care development programs and intervention programs with increased funding from the permanent fund?
4. What education resources should or can the City make available to the Albuquerque school system?
Poverty and the Homeless
1. What should be done to reduce the homeless population in Albuquerque?
2. What services should the City provide to the homeless and poor if any?
3. Should the City continue to support the “coming home” program?
4. Should the city be more involved with the county in providing mental health care facilities and programs?
Taxation and Project Financing:
1. Are you in favor of increasing the city’s current gross receipts tax or property taxes to pay for essential services and make up for lost gross receipt tax revenues caused in part by the repeal of the “hold harmless” provision and that has mandated budget and personnel cuts during the last 7 years?
2. Do you feel that increases in gross receipts taxes should be voter approved?
3. Are you in favor of diverting any funding from the Bio Park tax enacted by city voters that will generate $250 million for other services or projects not associated with the Bio Park?
4. The City has borrowed over $63 million dollars over the past two years to build “pickle ball” courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down central by bypassing voters and using revenue bonds as the financing mechanism to pay for big capital projects. Do you feel revenue bonds is an appropriate funding mechanism for large capital projects?
1. What is your position on the mandatory sick leave initiative known as the “Healthy Workforce” ordinance mandating private businesses to pay sick leave to employees and that will appear on the October 3, 2017 ballot?
2. Should the City and the City Attorney’s office enforce the increase in the minimum wage enacted by voters and the mandatory sick leave initiative if it is enacted?
3. What is your position on the proposed increase in public financing for Mayoral candidates from $360,000 to $640,000 that will appear on the October 3, 2017 ballot?
4. If you qualify to be a public finance candidate, will you truly be a public finance candidate or do you intend to rely upon measured finance committee’s set up to promote your candidacy for Mayor?
5. Should major capital improvement projects such as the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, be placed on the ballot for voter approval?
6. What is your position on the ART Bus project and should it be stopped or scaled back if Congress does not fund the federal grant?
7. Should Albuquerque become a “sanctuary city” by City Council resolution?
8. Should the issue of Albuquerque becoming a “sanctuary city” be placed on the ballot for voter approval?
Voters are entitled to and should expect more from candidates than fake smiles, slick commercials, and no solutions and no ideas. Our City needs more than promises of better economic times and lower crime rates for Albuquerque and voters need to demand answers and hold elected officials accountable.