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Q&A: Mayoral candidate Ricardo Chaves

1. What is the biggest issue facing the city, and how would you address it?

Other cities have solved the crime problem. It’s not unsolvable. It comes down to leadership. I’d find a new chief and review the command staff, individually. We need more police on the beat, where they can fight crime effectively.

2. What would you do to tackle Albuquerque’s crime problem?

We need more police on the beat, and but we must address problems in the command staff, including the chief, which will help address morale problems in the department.

3. What do you believe is the optimum number of officers for APD and what, if anything, would you do reach that number?

It should be 1,200, but we have to work to correct problems in the police department now so that police officers will want to work here. Right now, it’s hard to attract officers to Albuquerque.

4. Would you keep Police Chief Gorden Eden if you are elected mayor? If not, how would you go about selecting a new police chief? What would your time frame be? Do you have anyone in mind?

Chief Eden must go, and the time frame to find a replacement would be as soon as possible. I would restrict my search to those outside of the current department, to someone who is not beholden to anyone.

5. APD is currently operating under a U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement that outlines reforms, policy changes and mandatory training that police need to complete over several years. Should the city continue with that settlement agreement or go back to DOJ and the courts and attempt to get out of or modify it? If modify, how so?

The DOJ’s here because the police department’s being poorly managed. There’s crisis of leadership and training in the police department. The APD should comply with the DOJ’s directives. As soon as those are addressed, they’ll leave.

6. In what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes? Which taxes would you be receptive to increasing?

None. We want to cut the tax burden on our citizens and let them keep more of their hard-earned money. We do that by cutting waste.

7. The current administration has made technology and entrepreneurial innovation the centerpiece of its economic development efforts. Would you continue that focus or switch gears? Why?

I would expand the focus to include all kinds of companies. All businesses will benefit from a growing economy.

8. What would be your approach to boosting the economy in Albuquerque?

Cutting waste and taxes would spur economic growth and attract new companies. This alone would make Albuquerque a more business-friendly city. Government shouldn’t be running businesses. That’s best left to the private sector.

9. In recent years, the city has been issuing revenue bonds to pay for major capital projects. Would you support the continued use of revenue bonds to fund capital projects?

No. Our government should not be putting more burdens on the taxpayers.

10. What’s your take on the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project?

I’m calling on Mayor Berry and the City Council to immediately end construction of the ART Project. They should have stopped this project months ago, once they saw the negative impact this boondoggle was having on our community.

11. What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?

When we have good leadership in the mayor’s office, our quality of life will go up; because we’ll fix the police department, crime will go down and economic security will rise, attracting more businesses.

12. Albuquerque’s educational system is viewed by many as being in a crisis situation – its graduation rate is below 70 percent, and far too many students are below grade level in competency. In addition, it’s often cited as being a deterrent for attracting new businesses and employers. As mayor, do you believe there is anything you can do to improve the situation? If so, what would you do?

The mayor has no direct control over the educational system, but I hope the Albuquerque Public Schools system follows my lead and cuts waste from its budget and that they spend tax dollars in the classroom, where education happens.

13. The Healthy Workforce Ordinance has garnered both praise and criticism. If approved by voters on Oct. 3, the ballot initiative will require any business with a physical presence in Albuquerque to provide paid sick time off to full-time, part-time and temporary workers. Supporters argue that the ordinance would ensure that workers don’t have to choose between their paychecks and caring for themselves or a loved one. Opponents argue that it would hurt businesses because of higher costs and record-keeping requirements. What’s your position on the ordinance?

This is nothing but more government interference in business. It will increase costs on businesses, and decrease employment because businesses will have to choose between complying and firing workers.

14. What’s your position on the proposed 2 cent per gallon gasoline tax increase that is slated to go to voters for consideration on Oct. 3?

It would take another $5 million a year out of the economy – an economy that’s already struggling. And these taxes tend to grow over time! Instead, I’d fund any infrastructure repairs from the waste I will cut from the budget.

15. What differentiates you from your opponents?

I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman who would bring a businessman’s common-sense approach to government. I’m also talking about shrinking government, while most of the others are talking about greatly expanding it.

16. Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as mayor.

I’d immediately sell all city-owned properties that are losing money. This includes the four golf courses that now lose $1 million annually, and the city bus service, which loses $40 million annually.

17. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?

No.

18. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?

No.

19. Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state? If yes, explain.

No.

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