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Q&A: Mayoral candidate Wayne Johnson

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

Crime – it affects everything from quality of life to job creation. We need to give back the keys to APD from DOJ; build better coordination with the DA; and demand judges send repeat offenders to prison where they belong.

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

In the short term, I’ll look for resources, create partnerships and bring those resources to bear to stamp out our crime wave. One potential partner is the fully staffed Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. Use budgeted city dollars to strategically deploy sheriff’s deputies in the city.

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

The appropriate number of officers will be determined by low response times, few to no calls waiting, and high conviction rates. I’ll make APD the best place to work in the country. Empowered, enthusiastic officers are our best recruiters.

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. It’s important for the department and the public to see that we’re headed in a new direction. I won’t rush, but will do a national search and hopefully have a new team in place in the first few months.

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?

It was wrong for the city to turn APD over to an anti-police DOJ. I would narrow the scope of the agreement to use of force and associated training. The critical thing is to create consistent training and operational policies.

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

No. When government needs additional revenue it should look to fostering economic growth rather than wealth redistribution.

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?

Albuquerque should be a technology and entrepreneurial leader. That’s our future. But we need jobs now – which requires support for small business and a concerted effort to retain and expand businesses that have already chosen to invest in our city.

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

Get out of the way. Cultivate the innovation, technology and creative sectors. Use tools like IRBs, LEDA and JTIP to attract new and expand existing businesses. Support small business by reducing the burdens of city bureaucracy, taxation and labor policy.

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?

I am against any ordinance that kills jobs – especially this one. I fought to keep it off the ballot in 2016, and I believe that it will significantly hurt both workers and small businesses. This is a very bad law.

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.

I oppose this tax and specialized taxes as a general rule. They’re usually a fraud. The new money usually ends up supplanting existing funding or being used in unexpected and unanticipated ways. This gas tax would be no different.

15. What differentiates you from your opponents?

I believe in Albuquerque. I believe in our potential. I am the only candidate who has expanded law enforcement, improved EMS/Fire service, brought in private investment, helped create jobs, and built coalitions to address education and behavioral health.

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

Behavioral health. My vision is to build a regional behavioral health authority that can leverage state and federal dollars and that includes our county and community partners.

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.

Unfortunately, yes. Two decades ago I was arrested for DWI and the charges were subsequently dismissed. I’ve always been open about the incident when seeking office and when dealing with the public.

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