ABQ councilor pushes back against crime, homelessness - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ councilor pushes back against crime, homelessness

City Councilor Louie Sanchez

It’s almost time for two of the most unique experiences Albuquerque has to offer – chile roasting season and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Friends, family and tourists from around the world will soon begin arriving in our hometown. The United, Isotopes and Gladiators continue to captivate and bring hope to Albuquerque residents, and the Sandias and Bosque continue to offer beautiful reprieves from the hot summer days. But today, Albuquerque is at a crossroads like never before.

Our city has many challenges, but I want to talk about how, as one of your new city councilors, I am working to tackle them. Albuquerque is once again thrust into a negative national spotlight – the death of a Black and Hispanic 15-year-old boy during a police operation. Two women murdered last week within hours of each other, bringing Albuquerque’s homicides to 69 so far for 2022. But it’s not just murders that are out of control; violent and property crimes are off the charts as well. We have an exploding, lawless, homeless epidemic, but the mayor wastes tens of millions of tax dollars on severely underutilized buildings with no plans for actually dealing with the unhoused population. And our families and small businesses are struggling with tough choices to pay their bills, put food on the table or fill up their gas tank. Albuquerque residents need relief.

That’s why I’m holding the administration accountable and pushing for many changes that have already been enacted, like the mayor changing his leadership for chief administrative officer and city attorney. I also met with the mayor’s former choice of superintendent of police. Not long after my frank conversation with the candidate about the reality of the police department’s mismanagement, Mayor Keller removed her. I’ve led the charge fighting against lawless homeless encampments to keep crime, drugs and unsanitary conditions away from our children, families and businesses. And now, the City Council will reconsider the city-sanctioned encampments.

I’ve initiated two audits into your unanswered 911 calls and put forth the priority-based budget legislation that passed City Council 9-0. This will ensure the mayor’s spending is accountable, transparent and in line with other major cities. My staff and I have worked to have over 15 illegal encampments removed in District 1 and brought millions of dollars more for West Side projects like road improvements, renovation of the West Mesa Aquatic Center and construction of the West Side Public Safety Center and Ken Sanchez Indoor Sports Complex. I am working with Councilor Klarissa Peña to get over 60 outdated and restrictive paragraphs removed from the Department of Justice’s settlement agreement so we can start uncuffing our police officers so they can do their jobs.

But what’s next? I will continue to hold the mayor accountable to hire a new, world-class police chief who can retain and recruit good officers. And I’ll continue to seek transparency from APD’s bloated command staff, support our hard-working police officers, push for the dangerous roadway outside of the BioPark where a young boy was senselessly killed to be fixed, and encourage all city departments to come together to clean up the city we love, not just for Balloon Fiesta when the world’s eyes are on us, but for our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

This is our city. Let’s take it back together.

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