Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 3 Klarissa Peña - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 3 Klarissa Peña

Klarissa Peña

Name: Klarissa Peña (unopposed)

Political party: Democratic

Age: 54

Education: graduate, Rio Grande High School, 1984

Occupation: Albuquerque City Councilor since December 2013

Family: Husband Johnny, 6 children, 11 grandchildren and caregiver to my brother with special needs.

Relevant experience: Serving as city councilor for District 3 since 2013, community volunteer for 20 plus years.

Campaign website: Votekp.com

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

Currently speeding, gunshots and lighting are the top constituent calls my office receives. My colleagues, the administration and I established a public awareness and educational campaign (Speeding Has A Name) along with added traffic enforcement. Securing dollars for gunshot detection. Installing 244 new traffic lights this fall to improve public safety and quality of life.

What, if anything, can the Council do legislatively to reduce crime?

I will continue to support legislation that addresses the underlying issues that persist in our community and enhance community policing efforts.

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?

It should be modified to reflect the progress made. I have been vocal about my desire to seek ways to reflect progress.

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?

Currently, the department is funded at the level the department requested. It should be evaluated yearly.

What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?

Senior Affairs should have additional funding. Albuquerque has an aging population and it is important to help with quality of life for our seniors.

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

For quality of life issues.

What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?

We have the longest urban stretch of the historic Route 66; we haven’t capitalized on its tourism potential. Investment would help revitalize Central, boost/expand local business. Possibilities are endless making Albuquerque the nucleus of the iconic route. Additionally, New Mexico is the Lowrider Capital of the world. The culturally rich tradition also has enormous tourism potential.

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?

The West Side.

What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?

I’m a member of ABCGC (Albuquerque Bernalillo County Government Commission) an important partnership with the County to provide input on the behavioral health tax dollars, funding city wide initiatives to reduce homelessness, and as budget Chair this year I introduced a budget that returned the city to a level of $10 million at the request of advocates for affordable housing.

What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?

Ensure that it is funded adequately to meet the needs the of this vulnerable population. To holistically address the mental health and substance abuse needs that are overwhelming the individual families and the community.

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

I don’t recall seeing any official correspondence that shows some people on the streets do not want to stay in shelters. If that’s correct, its their personal choice but it’s important that we keep public and private spaces clean and safe.

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

Public Safety Center, continue to address infrastructure needs, complete Westgate Community Center in District 3.

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

For District 3 completing the Westgate Community Center is important to address quality of life for residents of the Albuquerque’s South Westside. Bringing much needed services to the area.

What differentiates you from your opponents?

I am currently running unopposed.

Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?

Work on the jobs to housing imbalance on the West Side. Also, continue to fight for much needed capital investment.

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?

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

2. 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.

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?

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


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