The December 7 runoff election in City Council District 9 is between Democrat ROB GRILLEY, 37, running against Republican RENEE GROUT, 60. District 9 is currently represented by Don Harris, a four-term Republican who has represented the district since 2005 and has decided not to run for a 5th term. District 7 is east Albuquerque from Menaul and Eubank, south to Kirtland Air Force base, and east of Tramway. The District includes the 4 Hills Country Club area. www.PeteDinelli.com invited ROB GRILLEY to submit a guest column as an endorsement for distribution on his behalf.
ABOUT ROB GRILLEY
Rob and his husband Matthew Allen live in the Volterra community of Juan Tabo Hills with their two dogs, Duncan and Gurney. Matt works as a scientist at Sandia National Laboratory and Duncan and Gurney work hard taking their owners on long walks and hikes.
Rob grew up in Connecticut in a family that taught him the value of service from a young age. His father is a disabled Vietnam veteran and a former police officer and small business owner. His mother worked full-time in addition to raising him and his two sisters, as well as being involved in community volunteer work.
After working in the technology field in the lead up to the 2008 financial crash, Rob shifted focus to career paths that gave back to the community; working as a community center programming director and for the board of education in Connecticut. Then, upon coming to New Mexico, working in early childhood education learning centers and volunteering with non-profit organizations.
Working with the Common Bond New Mexico Foundation, first as a volunteer and ultimately as President of the organization, Rob saw first-hand not only the challenges and needs facing the young people of our community but the struggles of their families as well. Through his time with Common Bond NM he has worked with Albuquerque city services, state services, and other local non-profit organizations to help youth and families struggling with food insecurity, housing insecurity, access to healthcare and other basic services.
Most recently, in an effort to serve more people more effectively, Rob went back to school and in the middle of the 2020 pandemic graduated UNM at the age of 36. Following his graduation, he immediately put his degree to use, working on the campaign of a then-candidate for his state house district, succeeding in helping her election, and then continuing on to Santa Fe and working for the state legislature.
ROB GRILLEY IN HIS OWN WORDS
CRIME AND PUBLIC SAFETY
“Reducing crime in our city and implementing law-enforcement reform are interconnected and significant challenges that weigh heavily on the people of Albuquerque. One of the first steps to reduce crime is to rebuild trust and open communication between law enforcement and the people who live here.
Over the past several years, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and District Attorney’s office have modernized and updated critical infrastructure and processes for fighting crime in our city. As a result, incidents of property crime such as auto theft, vandalism, and burglary are lower today than two years ago. Unfortunately, during the COVID-19 pandemic, crimes against people and society are on the rise, which shows we still have work to do.
At the same time as we’re seeing an increase in crimes against people and society, our community is experiencing a loss of trust in the police. Restoring this trust is critical for APD to be successful in its mission. And the best way to restore this trust is a committed approach to transparency and accountability. The city has made positive steps in this direction by:
• Appointing Sylvester Stanley as Superintendent of Police Reform; his experience and oversight role over the police academy, APD settlements, and internal affairs units will help correct systemic institutional problems, while allowing Chief Medina to remain focused on the city’s very real crime problems;
• The creation of, and support for, programs like the APD Community Ambassador Program, the Community Policing Councils, and the Albuquerque Community Safety Department.
Each of these programs, as with all city programs that are new and still developing, will require close engagement with the City Council. The Council must work with the Mayor, APD, and the District Attorney to ensure these programs:
• focus on transparency and accountability, with regular communication from police leadership regarding not just how they are doing, but where they are be struggling;
• provide social services responses rather than police dispatch responses for those in need of help who aren’t actually committing a crime;
• are funded at the level they need to be successful.
Community policing isn’t just a political catchphrase, it is the basic ideal that we should always strive for. The brave men and women who serve on our police force are an integral part of our community. If elected I will push for measures, tools, and resources to help law enforcement fight and address crime. I will work tirelessly to help facilitate a strong, working, trust-based relationship between law enforcement and the people they serve.”
ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT PLAN
“I look around District 9 and I see hard working people losing their jobs and businesses failing from no fault of their own. We need to ensure that they aren’t left behind on our road to recovery.
Albuquerque City Council District 9’s section of Historic Route 66 has over a dozen vacant lots, boarded up commercial plazas, and run-down properties. The pandemic exacerbated this problem, and the surviving businesses on our part of Central now have to face additional problems such as vandalism, property damage, and reduced safety for their employees and customers.
We need an economic development plan that focuses on our part of the Central corridor, from Tramway to Eubank, the Eastern Gateway into the city of Albuquerque. As your City Councilor, I’ll use all the tools that are available to the office in dealing with property owners that are delinquent in keeping their properties secure, safe, and ready for businesses to move in. By citing property owners that neglect their properties, partnering with property owners that are working hard to maintain them, and strengthening city programs that support local businesses, we can revitalize the Eastern Gateway neighborhood.
As the largest metropolitan center in the state of New Mexico, Albuquerque is a fantastic place to start or own a business. We need city representatives that understand how much we rely on the success of our businesses and are committed to ensure our district remains a strong commercial sector for the city.”
“We need a systemic response to this systemic problem.
Homelessness in Albuquerque threatens public health and safety, compromises our security, and is not being properly addressed. At the extremes we are experiencing, homelessness even breaks down the community bonds that would otherwise help bring us all together. Those experiencing homelessness are often victims of social stigma—living in shame and isolation—making it almost impossible to break the cycle of economic hardship.
To reduce homelessness and at the same time increase public health, security, and even save tax-payer money, we need to focus on a continuum-of-care solution that focuses on changing outcomes rather than just providing services; one that activates the moment someone loses their home or is at risk of homelessness. We need a solution that reduces the long-term burden on taxpayers and leads those once at risk, back to a position of housing security and financial independence.
In 2012 (almost a decade ago) Shaun Donovan, the secretary of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department remarked, “…between shelters and emergency rooms and jails, it costs about $40,000 a year for a homeless person to be on the streets.” This estimate is supported by a 2017 RAND Corporation study that specifically evaluated a Department of Health Services program in Los Angeles County, California that found the cost of caring for those experiencing homelessness was on average $38,146 per person per year.
People experiencing homelessness are at a much higher risk of contracting public illnesses that can be transmitted to others and result in serious medical conditions or even death (see CDC study on Hepatitis A and COVID-19).
Those experiencing homelessness often live in shame and isolation. Such social barriers make seeking help difficult if not impossible. Children of those trapped in a cycle of homelessness often grow up to become homeless adults themselves.
According to the recent Point in Time (PIT) survey conducted by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness (NMCEH) conducted in Albuquerque in January of 2021, there are more than 1500 people experiencing homelessness and more than 350 people living on the street (unsheltered). Of those living on the street, 25% have a substance use disorder and 25% have a serious mental illness.
These statistics are dire but the solution is not complicated, it simply requires work to implement. We need to collectively acknowledge a truth that we already know: Providing a meal, or a voucher to spend a night at a hotel does NOT give a home to the homeless, work to the unemployed, or personal security to someone with nothing. By implementing a system that could literally use existing city government infrastructure, we can work to change outcomes; transition the homeless back into homes by connecting them with steady employment and restoring their personal security and independence.”
DINELLI COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The December 7 runoff ballot for District 9 consists solely the listing of two names, and nothing else is on the ballot. It is expected that the voter turnout will be dramatically lower. To complicate things is that the city council races are nonpartisan by state law and therefore party affiliation will not be delineated on the ballot. It is common knowledge amongst political insiders that Republican Renee Grout is a very right-wing Republican Trump supporter.
ROB GRILLEY has no problem at all identifying himself as a Democrat. RENEE GROUTR on the other hand avoids talking about her Republican party affiliation as she uses the old misleading Republican ploy of not identifying her party affiliation and asks people to vote for her saying that municipal elections are “non-partisan and you should vote for the person and not the party” all the while relying on the State and County Republican Party and major Republican donors who want to flip the city council Republican.
Republican Renee Grout’s run off election is being managed by Mc Cleskey Media, the political consulting firm owned by long time Republican political operative Jay McClesky known for his “slash and burn” campaign style to smear Democrats and anyone considered progressive. McClusky managed the two successful elections of Republican Mayor Richard Berry and former two term Governor “She who must not be named” and influenced and made recommendations to fill high paying Government jobs to Republican Operatives. Mc Cleskey Media has successfully managed city council races now and in the past.
Republican Renee Grout has a distinct advantage over Democrat Rob Grilley because Grout is relying on two Republican measured finance committees including Healthy Economies Lead to Progress, the measured Finance Committee established to promote and support Republicans. Healthy Economies Lead to Progress filed its Runoff Finance statement for the time period of October 30 to November 5 reporting it has a closing balance of $87,864.62 for the reporting period it can use for the City Council runoff election.
ROB GRILLEY has a firm grasp of the problems having an impact on District 9, but also the 3 major problems affecting the city.
If you are a registered voter in City Council District 9, you are urged to vote and support Rob Grilley. He knows the district, he knows the issues and will have a positive impact on the city council.
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