Q&A mayoral candidate Edward Joseph Aragon Jr. - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A mayoral candidate Edward Joseph Aragon Jr.

Eddy Aragon

Name: Edward Joseph Aragon Jr.

Political party: Republican

AGE: 46

Education: B.A. political science/B.A. economics — University of New Mexico, 1998 and 2005

Occupation: CEO, AM 1600 KIVA, The Rock of Talk, November 2011

Family: Divorced. Two boys, 6 and 9

Relevant experience: 5 years — IT Professional Fortune 500 company, 10 years; commercial real estate broker for developers and corporate services, 10 years; director and CEO of local radio station KIVA-AM 1600. Résumé at eddyaragon.com

Campaign website: fightfor505.com

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

My Platform is the five C’s:

1. Crime — Reduce every category. No exceptions.

2. Commerce — Grow it. Stand behind small business. Remove ART now!

3. COVID — Challenge it. Hire local epidemiologist.

4. Corruption — Remove it everywhere!

5. City — Run it like someone who loves it!

What is your strategy for reducing violent crime?

1. Punish all crime, not just felonies.

2. Arrest misdemeanors (shoplifting, trespassing, possession, loitering, prostitution).

3. No rehabilitation of criminals. Focus on the public. Prosecute.

4. Arrest quality of life issues (camping, begging, sanitation).

5. Build departments within APD (nonexistent units within APD: Gang Unit, Commercial & Residential Burglary).

What is your strategy for reducing property crime?

1. Create property crime departments for residential and commercial.

2. Crime impact detectives are 50% understaffed. Need 100% staffed.

3. Get citizens to call 911. Calls are down. Crime is up.

4. Support APD officers. Bolster with increased reporting staff.

5. Auto theft division improved because they got resourced.

APD continues 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 agreement or try to modify it? If so, how should the city try to modify it?

1. The agreement can’t be modified or changed.

2. The reform is in federal court.

3. The City is plaintiff and party to the consent decree.

4. Engage DOJ. Accelerate compliance. Fight them. Remove them.

5. Improve morale of the officers. Stop targeting officers. Support them. It’s in our control.

About 31% of all the city’s general fund spending currently goes to the police department. Is that the right amount? If not, should it be higher or lower and why?

1. Audit impact of current amount being spent on APD. Forensic accounting of what officers do.

2. Determine how to resource units within APD.

3. Spread overtime pool across all officers.

4. We are “top heavy.” Make cuts.

5. What else are we supposed to spend money on right now?

With more police officers nationwide leaving the profession, what would you do to retain Albuquerque Police Department officers?

1. Stop blaming “national trend.”

2. 90+ APD officers have left.

3. Officers buying out to retire because they aren’t supported.

4. No settlement policy with legal claims from criminals.

5. Spread overtime pool across all officers. $20k to each officer Day 1. We can’t grow if we can’t retain.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?

1. Under no circumstances.

2. Not for a stadium.

3. Not for a bus.

4. Not for a spaceship.

5. Not for a building.

What specific industries should the city target with economic development incentives?

1. Homebuilders: Acquire land, build neighborhoods, streamline approvals.

2. Industrial commercial real estate developers: We have 0% vacancy. We need industrial space.

3. Doctors: We should provide property tax incentives for relocation of physicians.

4. Entrepreneurs: Students!

5. Closed restaurants: Build them a “cloud kitchen.”

What are your economic development strategies for boosting small, local businesses?

1. Remove the ART!

2. Remove blight, vagrancy, crime and make this a city where people want to do business.

3. Compete against casinos for attractions, food, visitors and entertainment.

4. Fight shutdowns from state. No essential vs. nonessential.

5. Personally visit small businesses every day in the “city manager cruiser.”

Do you support issuing $50 million in gross receipts tax bonds to fund a new multipurpose soccer stadium for New Mexico United’s use? If so, why is that the best use of $50 million? If not, why?

1. No way.

2. We don’t have $50 million.

3. The soccer team is not successful and is a political arm of our current governor and mayor.

4. The Nusenda Stadium is a great place to play “futbol.”

5. The Duke City Gladiators have won a championship. The United hasn’t.

If the bond passes, what role should the community have in selecting a stadium location?

1. Year 1: Vote on what year they want to build it.

2. Year 2: Vote on what part of town they want it.

3. Year 3: Vote on what they want the facility to be.

4. Year 4: Wait for them to win championship.

5. Year 5: Build it.

The city is establishing a new Gateway Center at the old Lovelace hospital in Southeast Albuquerque and some neighbors are concerned that it will be too big of an operation. What is the maximum number of overnight shelter beds the facility should have?

1. The Gateway is unsuitable.

2. Only 300 beds. Impractical.

3. Overnight shelters in city need to be actively supported with care, pick up and transit.

4. We should not “invest” in real estate or tiny homes.

5. We will help homeless find forever homes. 50% not from New Mexico.

What is the city’s responsibility to neighborhoods around the Gibson Gateway and any future city-owned shelters?

1. To maintain the safety of the neighborhood.

2. To improve the quality of life of its area residents.

3. To continue to support its active economic growth and gentrification.

4. To establish commerce for employees of our largest employers Sandia Labs, Kirtland and UNM.

5. To increase property values.

What should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?

1. Determine the best care on a case by case basis.

2. If mental, give care and transport to facility immediately.

3. If drug related, give care and transport to jail immediately.

4. If economic, give care and transport to shelter immediately.

5. If they refuse, transport out of city.

Do you support sanctioned encampments (sometimes called “safe outdoor spaces”) in the city? Why or why not?

1. Yes!

2. As a temporary measure (less than 30 days) before we transport homeless to their forever homes or back to their hometown.

3. Need to be actively managed with case workers towards suitable solution for client.

4. Prevents organic camps from developing.

5. Easier to track our homeless.

A 2020 analysis showed the city needs 15,500 more affordable housing units to meet demand for those with extremely low incomes. What is your plan to address that gap?

1. Grow jobs. Create opportunity. I came from a low income start.

2. Our real estate market suffers from a lack of supply. Current prices are making homes unattainable.

3. Attract homebuilders and apartment developers to Albuquerque.

4. Absorb infill and undeveloped land.

5. Streamline Albuquerque’s Planning and Development Department.

Fewer than half of Albuquerque residents agree the city is responsive to community needs, according to the city’s own survey. What would you do to improve responsiveness?

1. Personally visit small businesses daily in “city manager cruiser.”

2. Leverage the 9 Line at 505-969-9999.

3. Continue to do radio show on AM 1600 KIVA from 4-7 p.m. called “The Rock of Talk.”

4. Personally show up at every City Council meeting.

5. Inspire city employees! Morale is low.

What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?

1. Build another bridge across river. This is holding our city back.

2. Citywide beautification of our infrastructure and repair all city streets.

3. Downtown improvement initiative to fill office space and retail fronts.

4. Incorporate North Albuquerque Acres into Albuquerque — money.

5. Facilities for kids. Pools and playgrounds.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you support mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for first responders and other city employees who have direct contact with the public?

1. No mandatory masking.

2. No mandatory vaxxing.

3. Vaccinations, after full FDA approval, are a choice.

4. We will provide any personal protective tools (hand sanitizing, masking, distancing) upon request everywhere.

5. We will augment work schedules on a 24-hour clock and implement telecommuting strategies when requested.

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

1. We will fight to keep businesses open, especially small business.

2. Provide guidance for business and schools while maintaining health care choice for citizens.

3. Mandates will be challenged on the science by our epidemiologist.

4. Churches will determine how they will operate.

5. Keep all festivals and fairs open.

What specific metrics would you use to gauge your success as mayor?

1. Crime: Every category of crime must go down.

2. Commerce: Our economy has to grow.

3. COVID: We need to stay and remain open.

4. Corruption: We need to remove entrenched corrupt power politicians.

5. City: Are our employees happy? Are our citizens smiling? Are we putting ABQ first?

What differentiates you from your opponents?

1. I care ALOT.

2. I am not a politician.

3. I am not a Democrat. I am a Republican.

4. I am not taking public money for my campaign. They are fighting over your tax dollars for their campaigns.

5. I am well rounded, multi-faceted, entertaining and I close.

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

Corruption.

Personal background

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

In 2012 when I was married we had two small liens from the state.

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

No.

3. 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?

No.


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