Name: Byron Powdrell
Political party: Democratic
Education: High school, broadcast engineer
Occupation: Owner/general manager of 99.9 The Beat FM and community advocate
Family: Raquel Gurule, 4 children, 1 grandchild
Relevant experience: Co-chair Community Policing Council, 2019-2021; graduate of Albuquerque Police Department Citizen’s Academy; business owner; father; grandfather
Campaign website: byronpowdrell.com
What is the biggest issue facing your district right now, and how would you address it?
Crime; I would address this issue by taking actionable steps with the community and state Legislature.
What, if anything, can the Council do legislatively to reduce crime?
To create ordinances backed by state law that can be enforced by closing the loopholes caused by bail reform and the Arnold Tool.
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?
Based on my experience on the Community Policing Council Board, APD has, at this time, no options but to continue with the reform. Modification should be attempted and should begin with the Use of Force Policy.
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?
Based on my experience with the Community Policing Council and as a graduate of the Citizen’s Police Academy, it is apparent that specialized APD departments need extra funding.
What else in the city’s current budget, if anything, do you believe should have more or less funding and why?
Funding for safer parks and community centers with an emphasis on after-school programs.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you support raising taxes?
Under the circumstances of a shortfall in the city budget, I would consider raising taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and recreational marijuana.
What is your top idea for boosting the city’s economy?
Putting more money into tourism, arts and culture, and business development.
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 building location should be determined by available land and input from the affected communities.
What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?
Albuquerque needs more proactive mental health outreach along with reducing barriers that stand in the way of the unhoused that need and want help.
What should the city do to ensure the success of its first Gateway Center?
To ensure the success of the Gateway Center, it must have physical and mental health resources for the unhoused, in addition to shelter and other supportive services. Robust support of the surrounding community and all of Albuquerque is absolutely necessary for the success of the center.
What, if anything, should the city do for people living on the streets who do not want to stay in a shelter?
The Gateway Center should provide services such as having lockers, access to mail and access to phones for the unhoused, however, the priority should be on those who wish to transition into permanent housing.
What large infrastructure projects would you push for in the city’s next capital implementation program?
District 9 needs an additional fire station to increase the response time and to serve dual purposes for APD as needed.
What plans do you have to raise the quality of life for Albuquerque residents?
From my experience as a community advocate, the improvement in the quality of life comes from: increased public safety; vibrant, green spaces; higher paying jobs; and supporting neighborhood associations with localized, public events for families and children.
What differentiates you from your opponents?
I am the only candidate that has solid knowledge and experience of law enforcement through my service on the board of the Community Policing Council, and as a graduate of the Albuquerque Citizen’s Police Academy. I am the only candidate along with my family that owns two businesses in District 9 since 1973. Furthermore, I would be the first African American person to serve on Albuquerque’s City Council when elected.
Name one issue not mentioned in the questions above that you would plan to tackle as a councilor?
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?