The runoff election on Dec. 7 is the most important election in the state of New Mexico. As the state’s largest city and economic center, Albuquerque sets the standard for our entire state, and the decision voters make that day will affect not just our city but all of New Mexico for the next four years.
An obstructionist, partisan City Council will paralyze this city when it’s critical we move forward to address issues such as the homelessness crisis, public safety and economic development. Through my work in the nonprofit community, I have seen first-hand how hard-working people lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with no savings in the bank, lost their housing.
Homelessness is not something that just happens to transients or criminals. It happens to our residents – to hard-working people that can’t find work. A free meal and one-night voucher will not lift these people off the street. Half-measures to addressing homelessness only serve as a Band-Aid, and in the long run cost taxpayers much more money.
Our city needs a continuum-of-care, outcome-focused solution to homelessness. A city-backed network of services that catch people as they fall and help them get back to a place where they are housing secure and financially independent. The city’s property crime rates are decreasing, but violent crime is up. We have work to do. Addressing crime in our city won’t be easy, and there is no one-step solution. As a city councilor, I will fight for better wages for our emergency and law enforcement officers. I will work hard from day one toward resolving the Court Approved Settlement Agreement with APD, supporting our officers with the resources and training they need, and implementing career advancement and retention programs so we can support their futures along with securing our own.
At the same time we support APD, we must support the Albuquerque Community Safety Department, a city initiative that provides trained specialists to answer 911 calls for non-violent incidents. The Community Safety Department is off to a good start, but we must ensure the City Council supports the program at the level it needs to be successful and help reduce the workload on APD and allow them to focus on fighting crime.
To fund city programs, we need our businesses to be successful. Economic redevelopment is one of the highest priorities for District 9. No more vacant lots, period! As a city councilor, I will use every available tool on the books – and invent some if I have to – to work with property owners and make sure properties are secure, safe and ready for businesses to move in. We deserve a revitalized Central Avenue – a Historic Route 66 that visitors to our city can appreciate and residents of our city can take pride in.
We have challenges ahead of us; let’s get to work. If you would like to talk more, you can message me at Rob@Rob4abq.com. Thank you for your time, and please vote Rob Grilley on Dec. 7.