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Q&As with District 3 City Council candidates

Klarissa J. Peña

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

Public safety is an important issue throughout the city. The Southwest Area Command does an outstanding job being proactive and working with the community. We must recruit good qualified officers that mirror our community, and we must promote community policing.

2. Do you support high-density residential and commercial development in any portion of your district?

Our community lacks basic services. We are faced with how to address new growth and yet we still have basic infrastructure needs. We must bring stakeholders to the table to ensure good infill and planned growth, while preserving our history.

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

1,000. It’s the number we are budgeted for. I have focused on recruitment and advocating that those officers mirror Albuquerque’s culturally diverse community. As part of the recruitment process unfortunately some candidates are eliminated from the process for minor infractions.

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

I introduced the Behavioral Health Tax. The tax that was later passed in the county and I believe will help to improve behavioral heath services and alleviate some of the underline issues in our community: homelessness and drug abuse.

5. 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?

It would depend on the project but not at the risk of a budgetary deficit that would affect the delivery of key city services.

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

The implementation of the behavioral tax, working with APD to recruit good qualified officers that mirror our community, promote community policing, encourage and promote small business development, work to bring good paying jobs to our city.

7. 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?

Working with the supporters of the bill and the business community I worked to strike a compromise. There was immediate backlash. This was a missed opportunity to develop a sick leave ordinance that would be a win for workers and business owners.

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

Opened a business in 1988 that did not thrive, one of the major learning experiences of my life, yes.

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

Opened a business in 1988 that did not thrive, one of the major learning experiences of my life, yes.

10. 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.

Charged with a petty misdemeanor battery over three decades ago when I was 19. The judge took it under advisement and case was dismissed.


 

Christopher R. Sedillo

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

Public safety. Especially property crime is a major concern. I would address it by examining the root cause, i.e. poverty, drug addiction and mental illness, and by providing the resources to change behavior in a positive way.

2. Do you support high-density residential and commercial development in any portion of your district?

No, I do not support high-density development. There is a great deal of land on the West Side to develop intelligently and make it eco-friendly. I like to revitalize neighborhoods, especially those with boarded houses. Develop Unser Crossing with businesses, instead of sitting there vacant for years.

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

While the optimum number of officers is an issue, I am concerned with the quality of officers and their training. Offer strong recruiting and incentives to join, expand the Police Service Aide program and improve morale in the ranks.

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

I believe in a balanced budget and would not raise taxes. I believe the city of Albuquerque is already taking in enough taxes and needs to prioritize how our tax dollars are spent.

5. 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, revenue bonds allow Albuquerque leaders to bypass voters. Approximately $7.5 million is now tied up each year to make payments on revenue bonds. Interest rate around 2.5 percent. This is paying for the ART project. Voters had no say.

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

Collaborate with engineers to improve our roads and to redesign roads where speeding in certain neighborhoods is a major safety concern. Provide more affordable housing for first-time home buyers. Work hard to take care of homeless population.

7. 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 is your position on the ordinance?

As it is written, I would not support it. I do believe it would be a negative impact on business and with Albuquerque’s high unemployment rate it will only make it worse. It is in the hands of the voters October 3rd, 2017.

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

No.

9. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceedings?

No.

10. 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.

Not in New Mexico or any other state but did received a DWI in London, England, in 1990. Went to court paid a fine and loss my driving privilege for one year.

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