Q&A: Mayoral candidate Brian Colón - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A: Mayoral candidate Brian Colón

Brian Colón

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

Undoubtedly, crime. Our crime epidemic has spiraled nearly into a state of lawlessness. This is the current administration’s failure. Our community deserves trust in its police department, rebuilt through an appropriately-staffed and highly-trained police force.

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

Albuquerque needs targeted police units to reduce violent and property crime. Community policing and partnership efforts must be supplemented with stringent pretrial procedures, repeat-offender review with enhanced criminal prosecution, mental health training, treatment for individuals with addiction and gang prevention.

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

1,200 officers. Our city’s budget must reflect our values. Public safety is our first priority. We must provide a conducive work environment where officers receive support, appropriate compensation and benefits to make APD an attractive choice.

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?

No. Without a pre-determined candidate in mind, I will immediately form a search committee of law enforcement experts and community advocates to identify/interview candidates. A national search will locate a chief who can rebuild trust between APD and citizens.

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?

APD should fulfill all duties required under the decree as soon as practically possible with an emphasis on moving forward. If elected, the new APD police chief will report directly to me and adopt an improved vision for public safety.

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

Raising taxes is an option only in very limited circumstances when current funding is insufficient. Safety is my first priority, and APD must have the resources to protect our community. I will work diligently to identify funds without increased taxes.

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?

We need to continue to support the growth that the technology and entrepreneurial industries have provided. As mayor, I will invest in our local businesses and showcase Albuquerque’s attractiveness to larger national companies looking for a new home.

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

Our city must provide effective incentives to assist local businesses, secure the relocation of major national employers, and grow workforce skills through UNM and CNM. The entrepreneurial energy of our arts economy and Downtown corridor must be replicated across Albuquerque.

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?

I support revenue bonds and similar public/private incentive programs that serve the city’s best interest. We are in a near-crisis situation regarding economic growth, and we must be “slow to say no” on these types of possibilities.

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

I would never have adopted ART without true community engagement and endorsement. With ART nearly complete, we must maximize its usefulness by properly integrating it into our existing transportation network. An ART Ambassadors program will increase attractiveness and rider safety.

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

My goal is to create a safe city and a smart city that engages its citizens to move us forward. We must immediately address the issue of public safety which affects economic growth and calls for an improved education system.

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?

It is time to stop giving the mayor a “hall pass” on education. The city commits significant financial resources to APS annually with little accountability. I will appoint a chief education officer to serve as liaison on city-related educational issues.

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? What’s your position on the Healthy Workforce Ordinance?

I will vote for the ordinance. It is not in the community’s best interest for sick workers to report to work due to economic needs. Additionally, as mayor, I will aptly consider the added burden this places on businesses.

14. What’s your position on the 2 cent per gallon gasoline tax increase that has been proposed?

Under the measure, revenue generated would be used for roadway and other transportation projects. Voter approval would be required to enact the tax. My concern is that the proposed tax to “rehabilitate transportation systems” is troublingly vague. There is no question that the infrastructure of our community can also be improved and I fully support any fully-reviewed initiative which would reach that goal.

15. What differentiates you from your opponents?

We need more than just awareness and desire to improve Albuquerque. My vision is matched with the conviction to build a city with opportunity for growth. I will work with community advocates and experts to get the results Albuquerque deserves.

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

As mayor, I will re-energize pride for our city’s unique ancestry, landscape, and culture. Instead of topping the list of crime-riddled cities, we must transition to a community that champions the blend of tradition and innovation that sets us apart.

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

I started in business when I was 22 years old. That first business was the subject of two liens, one in 1995 and another in 1996. Both liens were satisfied through payment and lifted in 1997 and 1998.

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.

Humble beginnings taught Colón the value of service

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