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Q&A: Mayoral candidate Dan Lewis

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

Albuquerque is plagued by an unprecedented rise in auto theft, property crimes, and violent crimes — with fewer officers on the streets, and fewer criminals in our jail. We will make our city the worst place to be a criminal.

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

Keep repeat offenders in jail and out of our neighborhoods, put 1,200 officers on our streets performing community policing, and ensure they are well-led, better-paid, and well-trained with the resources to do their job effectively.

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

  1. To perform community policing, we need 1,200 officers, or 25 for every 10,000 residents.
  2. Complete APD court-ordered reform and get rid of the DOJ.
  3. Increase pay through the ranks, and double down on recruiting Police Service Aides.

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?

I will appoint a new Chief. We will restore trust in Law Enforcement by replacing APD’s top management, starting with a national search for the best chief Albuquerque can find, and creating the most respected department in the nation.

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?

Now two years into the four-year agreement, we have completed the outline of reforms, policy changes, and all mandatory training. I will fulfill the agreement within the court-planned timeline and no later, ending it as soon as possible.

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

I do not support raising taxes. If we prioritize, then we already have funds to finance public safety, expanding our tax-base with new businesses, helping home-grown businesses thrive, create jobs, and increase gross receipts through a growing economy.

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 will double down on our entrepreneurial ecosystem, attract talented people who will start businesses and create jobs, encourage the investment of private capital, and utilize the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) to help our home-grown businesses expand.

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

The best economic development is community development. First, ensure a safe and fair place for business and job creation. Focus on strengths — our creative economy, directed energy, big data, health and bio-sciences, data visualization, and industries with great potential.

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?

Just as a business grows through investments in the future, we must ensure that capital dollars are used to add to and improve our City’s quality of life. I’ll promote capital projects that are both essential needs and economic drivers.

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

I’m the only candidate who voted against it. It doesn’t solve problems and started with “hopes” of federal funding. In comparison, the Paseo / I-25 Interchange which I spearheaded met a dire need and was fully-funded before construction started.

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

Real quality of life starts with safe neighborhoods and a city government that ensures good return on tax dollars, rapid emergency response times, low energy and water rates, clean public spaces and streets, and an accountable city government.

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?

Albuquerque has one massive school district that is failing our kids and is one of the biggest obstacles to growing our economy. I support replacing APS’s bloated, unaccountable school district with smaller, more manageable, accountable, and efficient local districts.

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?

All workers deserve protected leave time, but the Sick Leave Act—whose fine-print hides many damaging employer mandates, isn’t the way to do it.  Most of our businesses already provide time-off.  We’ll fill gaps without destroying local businesses.

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?

I oppose a tax that mostly hurts families.  The City doesn’t have a revenue problem, but a priorities problem.  With resources we have, we will prioritize repair and maintenance of neglected roadways and build what we need and can afford.

15. What differentiates you from your opponents?

As an employer and entrepreneur, I’ve created local private sector jobs.  I understand how City Government can both hurt and help job creation.  As a City Councilor, I’m the only competitive candidate who has not held a partisan elected position.

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

I’ll address behavioral health needs and help our people who are homeless by doubling-down on successful programs like “Albuquerque Heading Home.” We will also significantly reduce panhandling by strengthening our panhandling ordinance and ensuring the law is enforced.

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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