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Q&As with District 7 City Council candidates

DIANE GIBSON

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

Crime — especially burglaries and auto theft. We need police patrolling neighborhoods again. We should hire more officers via college campus recruitment, but we should also better manage our resources by dispatching only the needed number of officers to calls.

2. What measures should the city take to encourage infill development in the near Northeast Heights?

Infill projects will be more successful when inconsistencies and inefficiencies are eliminated with the new Integrated Development Ordinance that updates our zoning regulations and processes while raising the bar for quality and appropriateness of development while protecting single-family residential neighborhoods.

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

The CASA study recommended 1,000 officers, which should be our minimum goal. We should recruit from college campuses using our most personable and passionate officers. I sponsored one such event at the University of New Mexico campus and I’m glad to do more.

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

Declining gross receipts taxes have resulted in cutbacks to city departments and critical services. I would prefer first to address taxing Internet sales. Any increase should be taken to voters.

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?

Revenue bonds should be utilized sparingly and rarely. Gross receipts tax, the source for their repayment, is a volatile revenue stream that makes budgeting for city operations challenging.

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

I have invested in our parks, libraries, and community centers that create welcoming environments and a diversity of activities.

This summer I am establishing an ad hoc committee to research and recommend options for vacant problem homes that diminish quality of life.

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?

I support giving workers sick time. It is a health issue for workers and for their clients, customers and patients. However, there are flaws in the ordinance as it is going to the voters.

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 proceeding?

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.

Over 45 years ago I was charged with shoplifting in a grocery store, an act that I still regret. It was deferred.


 

ERIC LUCERO

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

While seeking more police service for our district, and as a councilor, I’ll be providing more responsive and robust action to redress our lingering and chronic substandard properties; i.e., against negligent homeowners and/or their absentee owners via condemnation as needed.

2. What measures should the city take to encourage infill development in the near Northeast Heights?

Working with our mayor and fellow councilors, together we’d suspend most or all development/permit fees, expedite inspections, and facilitate between stakeholders to assure full transparency and complete constituent input.

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

Optimum staffing levels for the APD are dependent on stable revenues and the city agreeing on actual funding priorities. With a workable budget, I’ll vigorously advocate for a return to 2010-era staffing levels! No to ‘return to work’ schemes.

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

After careful review of the budget, and even after priority funds movements to public safety, if staffing shortages and declining revenues persist, I’d support raising taxes via a dedicated safety tax to secure our city! Officer retention must be addressed!

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?

Our economic “death spiral” puts into serious doubt a stable bonding repayment revenue stream, given a Gross Receipts Tax (GRT) of 7.5%. Ideally, developers and their assets should be on the hook for these bonds. A major rethink is needed!

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

Our beleaguered taxpayers have the expectation to be safe in their person, homes, and at their place of work! I’ll fight to change our funding priorities for public safety via the city’s budget process. Our safety must come first!

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?

I oppose this ordinance, which the incumbent supported. It is not a “business friendly” initiative and if adopted, would not be subject to revision or repeal. Ordinance turns employee and employer adversaries in an already depressed labor market.

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 proceeding?

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? Yes If yes, explain.

I was arrested in the late 1990s due to an outstanding warrant issued in the 1980s. Matter was resolved by making full restitution and by paying fines. No jail time and no criminal record.

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