Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 7 Andres Valdez - Albuquerque Journal

Q&A Albuquerque City Council District 7 Andres Valdez

Name: Andres Valdez

Political party: Unannounced. It is a nonpartisan election. There is too much division between parties. It is crucial to seek unity based on issues.

Age: 70

Education: Three years college

Occupation: Political and social justice activist

Family: No response

Relevant experience: 30 years experience in problem solving social justice issues

Campaign website: Facebook

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

Crime and homelessness. In some cases, connected, in addition these issues are connected to law enforcement and the balance with federally mandated police reforms. Solutions obviously are multi-fold. Andres Valdez has plan to reduce homelessness by 2/3. Crime in itself is highly complex with categories with requiring particular solutions.

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

The mayor and council and Albuquerque Police Department must work together for the correct particular applications on reducing break-ins, vandalism, burglary, homicides and domestic violence. Also if we can solve 2/3 of the homeless problem it will contribute to a reduction in crime.

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?

Police complain they can’t do their jobs and comply with reforms. Reports of noncompliance in APD is supported by upper level command. A complete review is essential. The CASA agreement was incorrect from the start established through closed door deals between Mayor Richard Berry and the Department of Justice. Motions have been filed to review the whole 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?

There needs to be an overview of the city’s budget and assessment of the city’s financial needs to determine if that is the correct amount.

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

Funding to correct ongoing problems with water run off in the area of Constitution and Washington. This will be substantial. In addition the city should formally prioritize the funding of providing homes for the homeless.

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

After a thorough review of prudent use of city assets and expenditures. And an absolutely necessary reason and if it is voter approved.

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

Considering economic levels: Owners and executors, well paid workers, workers barley making ends meet and the poor. In boosting city economies, it is the practice of trickle down economics, proven uneffective for most. With no alternative plan, what strikes middle ground is an eye toward entrepreneurship and small 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 voters hopefully will not approve this. The money is needed much more for crime, homelessness and infractstructure. If the voters approve the $50 million expenditure it should be placed at the existing sports stadiums portion of the city.

What specific strategies do you have for reducing homelessness?

We can solve 2/3 of the homeless problem. The city needs to invest in building homes or using up empty space. Provide homes for homeless that cannot work, for working homeless. Also provide homes based on a sliding scale based on what they can afford, assuring employment. That is 2/3.

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

As part of its mission “To support individual paths to housing stability,” the housing stability is not spelled out. The project already has $30 million — part can be used to secure a transition to stability, where my plan, the solving 2/3 of the homeless plan, connects.

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

If we can solve 2/3 of the homeless problem, those that don’t want to stay in a shelter would diminish given benefits offered under different conditions. If not, we would continue to provide the services now offered to the homeless.

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

Water run off causing flooding problems in the Constitution and Washington area. This would be a very costly project. I would want to see a review of the condition of the whole city’s infrastructure.

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

Less crime, human and civil rights, balanced economic growth, community centers in problem neighborhoods. Cultural programs, transforming destructive youth behavior into constructive activity by the development of art, music, dance, theatre, chess and computer education. Might help some adults.

What differentiates you from your opponents?

My ideas are innovative but scientific and based on solid fact and history. I have 30 years experience in legislative work and police reform that cannot be matched. My problem solving is scientific. I have the political will, knowledge and experience to make changes that are not half done

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

There are three. One is the jet fuel oil spill cleanup project. Two is gentrification along the North and South Valley corridor. Three is election reform, in particular the need to inform all voters of the $5 “qualifying contribution” law.

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?

No.

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?

About 20 years ago, I was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana even though it was not in my possession.

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