Name: Louie Sanchez
Political party: Democratic
Education: High school diploma, West Mesa High School
Occupation: Owner Allstate Insurance; retired APD
Family: Two adult children; mom, dad and sister living in District 1
Relevant experience: 25-year veteran of Albuquerque Police Department, one year at Albuquerque Public Schools Police
Campaign website: louiesanchezforabq.com
What is the biggest issue facing your district right now, and how would you address it?
Crime is the biggest issue facing the city, not just the West Side. It starts with the culture at APD. Officers are demoralized and leaving in droves. We need retention and recruitment efforts starting with empowering current officers. We need criminals to see a police presence in order to deter crime.
What, if anything, can the council do legislatively to reduce crime?
Council can pressure the Mayor’s Office to enforce quality-of-life issues that APD currently is not, such as shoplifting, criminal trespassing and human trafficking. This needs to happen immediately to let criminals know these actions will no longer be tolerated. Council can also pressure courts to keep criminals jailed.
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?
Since the moment the DOJ took over APD, our officers and residents have paid the horrific price. Shifting policies and no backing from City Hall have our officers confused on how to do their jobs and demoralized from being blamed for this administration’s failures. I would modify the agreement.
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?
Thirty-one percent sounds like a high number, but it is appropriate for our current crisis. Homicides are on pace to top 130, 50 more than our current record high. We need to be smarter about our spending, hiring officers on the streets instead of bloated administrative salaries and positions.
What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?
Infrastructure, we need to build back Albuquerque’s economy. That starts by improving our roads to entice new businesses, but we also need to have infrastructure in place for once the boom hits. The West Side is the ideal location for much of this expansion, we need to be prepared.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?
I do not support raising taxes. I support more responsible fiscal spending.
What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?
Crime and homelessness are stifling economic growth, you throw in a government willing to sacrifice small businesses for the benefit of big box stores and you have the perfect recipe for a stagnant economy. Clean up the streets, invest in our small businesses and our economy will come back.
If city voters approve a $50 million gross receipts tax bond for a new multipurpose soccer stadium, where do you think it should be built?
Where people and traffic can be moved to the interstate easily and infrastructure permits it. It should be on the West Side off Interstate 40 in District 1.
What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?
We need a coordinated approach, getting all stakeholders involved. We need to have supportive services and housing in place before we open the doors to the Gateway Center. We need rapid intervention, to assist the most vulnerable, more CRT and increased employment and income opportunities.
What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?
The city needs to ensure that supportive services and shelters are in place for the homeless to transfer to, before the Gateway Center ever opens its doors. As the name implies, it is a gateway, not a long-term solution. I have yet to see evidence that supportive services are in place.
What, if anything, should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?
There are many reasons that people living in the streets may not want to stay at a shelter, safety being paramount. This is why scatter-site housing is the industry standard, directly opposite of the taxpayer boondoggle that is the Gateway Center.
What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?
It is an opportune time to invest in infrastructure on the West Side. The West Side is the only location with room to expand industry. That being said, we need to plan ahead and have roads and transportation in place to allow businesses and jobs to come in.
What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?
I plan to take back our streets and our parks from the criminal elements. I plan to give our residents the freedom to feel safe on their own street, in their own home. I plan to build our economy so our residents can have more financial freedom.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
I was born, raised and educated in District 1, not a recent transplant. I know the needs of our neighborhood because I have lived in it for 56 years. I have 26 years’ experience fighting crime, our No. 1 issue. I am the only choice for the West Side.
Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?
Early childhood education.
1. Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
2. Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
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?