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Q&As with District 9 City Council candidates

DON HARRIS

Don Harris

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

The biggest issue is property crime and the reputation of Albuquerque as a dangerous place. We need more police officers. We have to pay police more and budget more for them, a simple matter of basic economics.

2. What measures should the city take to address issues of crime and homelessness in the East Central area?

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We need more police officers to reduce crime. Vagrants interfering with traffic is dangerous and a law enforcement problem, and better laws and pending legislation should help. The city needs to continue to fund programs that help homeless people.

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

We need 1,200 officers given our crime rates and our lenient judicial system. Twelve hundred would allow community policing, not just responding to calls. We need more creative recruitment. We need to increase compensation to attract and retain more officers.

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

I would only support raising taxes after exhausting all possible cost saving in the city, and only if devoted to expanding the police force. A small gross receipts tax increase could be a last resort to increase the police force.

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?

The gross receipts tax revenue bonds have enabled good projects. However, those bonds had the effect of starving the operating budget during this public safety crisis and limiting the city’s flexibility to respond. We must prioritize the public safety crisis.

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

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I have funded a new Singing Arrow Community Center, and new a park in Volterra. I sponsored the important legislation requiring 2 percent of the GO bond program to go to open space. The Tijeras Arroyo should be a public asset.

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?

If approved by the voters, it could significantly harm the Albuquerque economy during this very fragile recovery. I own a small business. The ordinance is over-reaching and anti-business and would hurt the people it is trying to help.

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, other than as an attorney.

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.

While attending music school over 30 years ago, an overzealous security guard had me arrested for staying in the building after hours practicing my saxophone. The petty misdemeanor case was dismissed. Otherwise, only minor traffic tickets many years ago.


 

PAUL RYAN McKENNEY

Paul Ryan McKenney

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

Crime! To get the officers that we need, we have to improve APD’s image. This is done by holding the command staff responsible for completing the DOJ consent decree, being transparent, and accountable to civilian oversight.

2. What measures should the city take to address issues of crime and homelessness in the East Central area?

We need to have officers walking and biking through the neighborhoods. We need to get back to community policing with the officers present on the streets of the 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?

Between 1,100-1,200 officers. Make APD a place people want to work. Step one is to renew APD’s image by completing the DOJ consent decree. Also, build up the relationship between APD and the community through transparency and meaningful civilian oversight.

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

None. “Taxes take from everyone a part of his earnings and force everyone to work for a certain part of his time for the government.” – Calvin Coolidge

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, I would not. Capital projects need to go out to a public vote, and the voters need to the approve capital improvement bonds.

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

My plan is to listen to what the people of District 9 want. I will not be telling them what they need, instead I’ll be asking for input on what they need.

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 the ordinance. Government has no right to interfere with two people (employer and employee) entering into a contract.

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.

No


 

BYRON POWDRELL

Byron Powdrell

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

Reactive versus proactive leadership is Albuquerque’s biggest issue. Rampant crime, stagnant economic development, inadequate communication and failing schools are reflections on our current leadership. As a hands-on communicator I will bring these conversations to our district and City for resolution.

2. What measures should the city take to address issues of crime and homelessness in the East Central area?

Public safety is No.1 and must be addressed via comprehensive assessments of the root causes of crime including inconsistent commercial and residential zoning enforcement practices, lobbying the Legislature on updating laws, dealing with mental illness, homelessness and illicit drug use.

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

In prior administrations when crime was down, the number was 1,100. We’re funded for 1k now with only 853 hired. A leadership change and review of the recruitment and retention strategy must be undertaken to reach optimum effectiveness.

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

The right way to raise tax revenue is to grow our economy and end revolving door wasteful spending on police overtime, civil suits and other documented wasteful City practices. Tax increases should be dedicated and voter approved.

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?

Yes, bond rates are at historic lows and it is a good way to finance large projects like the Aquarium and Botanical Garden.

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

Fully staff the Biopark , Zoo, Aquarium, Tingley Beach, Botanical Gardens and libraries. Support the performing arts and free programming like Summerfest and other cultural enhancements.

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?

My position is that on its face it’s good, but the voters and business owners need to be educated on this issue to better understand the variables and how it affects small business and corporations.

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.

Yes. More than 20 years ago I was arrested for domestic unrest, the cases were subsequently dropped.

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