Name: Rob Grilley
Political party: Democratic
Education: BA in political science, University of New Mexico 2020; AA in political science, Central New Mexico Community College 2018
Occupation: President, Common Bond New Mexico Foundation – 3 years
Family: Matthew Allen, husband
Relevant experience: Former educator, non-profit executive, and legislative analyst
Campaign website: rob4abq.com
What is the biggest issue facing your district right now, and how would you address it?
Homelessness. We need a continuum of care solution that focuses on a path to get people back on their feet and back to a place of security, rather than on shuffling the homeless out of sight or giving them a single meal hoping that’ll cause lasting change to their situation.
What, if anything, can the Council do legislatively to reduce crime?
I’d work to put more officers on the streets and improve partnerships between law enforcement and our criminal justice system to better target the revolving door of repeat offenders causing crime in Albuquerque. Additionally, I’d work to better implement social services within the city that prevent the criminals of tomorrow.
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?
Yes, the city should continue. I’ve worked in positions of public trust for most of my life; whether you’re a teacher, social worker, police officer, or city councilor, these positions come with additional scrutiny. I’ll happily support improvements to implementation, however, the events that triggered these reforms cannot be ignored.
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?
It cannot be lowered and likely needs to be raised so that we’re able to remain competitive. The work of law enforcement is more than difficult and the oversight requirements can be challenging as well. The city must recognize this and take care of our officers and recruit the best.
What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?
We need to make sure we take care of our city employees and continue to attract and retain talented and passionate people. Too many departments have persisting vacancies. This has led to a loss of faith by our residents and a loss of morale by the workers that remain.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?
The majority of the policies and projects I’m looking to tackle are budget neutral or have better funding paths through local partnerships, non-profits and federal programs and dollars. I do not see a need or have a plan to increase taxes.
What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?
Bringing business into the city and specifically District 9. Our district has an enormous amount of commercial space that’s sitting vacant near and on our most traveled streets. I want to work with business and property owners to cut through persistent bureaucratic hurdles and utilize what’s already there waiting.
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?
I would suggest the Iron and Second Street location. It’s closer to the majority of Downtown, which will provide more opportunities for businesses and restaurants; as well as the BioPark, Explora, museums, and other city attractions. However, the city must have buy-in from the residents of whichever site is chosen.
What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?
The city needs to adopt a continuum of care approach that focuses on a path back to a place of security rather than just enforcing ordinances or doling out services. A defined path from Point A to B, etc., clearly showing how someone can get their feet back under them.
What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?
Measure expectations. The Gateway Center will help many people, but some speak or act like it will solve homelessness in our city when it opens. The Gateway Center, tiny homes, the Community Safety Program — these are good ideas but we need a long-term solution rather than a series of half-measures.
What, if anything, should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?
We need to recognize why that is. The idea that many homeless just prefer to be that way is misleading at best. Addiction, PTSD, mental disorders, and bad experiences are the real reasons shelters are avoided, and why a clear path to stability and housing security is so important.
What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?
Historic Route 66 enters New Mexico’s largest city in my district. I want the road to be safe, clean and beautiful, with places to walk, eat, and shop. I want people to feel pride for our home as they visit our parks and drive past markers commemorating our shared history.
What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?
Raise the bar on access to city services. There are too many people and neighborhoods having to fight for the attention of officials to resolve basic problems. The city councilor’s role is to serve as a conduit of not only information but action, between their community and city government.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
My life and career is centered on public service. I came to Albuquerque years ago because I love this city and its people. I’ve made my home here. The people I care about have their homes here. I’m running because I want everyone to see the Albuquerque that I see.
Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?
The issue that first got me into politics: early childhood education. Our city has many issues, but improving educational outcomes for children will help address long-term problems such as crime and homelessness, as well as grow our economy and attract businesses. This issue is so important and needs more attention.
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 drunk-driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state?