Wheeler-Deichsel is one of 14 candidates who registered with the city clerk’s office to run for mayor on Thursday – the first day of a 10-week qualifying period.
Candidates now have until April 28 to gather the signatures of 3,000 register
ed city voters to earn a place on the Oct. 3 ballot.
Wheeler-Deichsel’s two-year effort to transform a Lowe’s store at 11th and Lomas NW into an upscale boutique grocery market, which included the controversial step of adding a liquor license, taught her the pitfalls and rewards of infill development.
“People love that grocery store and it really brought the neighborhood up a notch,” said Wheeler-Deichsel, who convinced the owner, the Western grocery store chain, to invest $5.5 million in the project.
“I found out what neighborhood pushback was all about,” she said. “It became the neighborhood scandal. Boy, did I learn a lot.”
Wheeler-Deichsel, 65, said during her candidacy announcement Thursday in Civic Plaza that infill development centered on mass transportation will help Albuquerque develop a vibrant Downtown. She strongly supports the $119 million Albuquerque Rapid Transit project, which will create a nine-mile network of bus-only lanes and bus stations in the middle of Central Avenue.
Wheeler-Deichsel said the project will bring large private investors to Albuquerque for mixed-use business and residential development along the Central Avenue corridor.
The candidate is a self-employed co-founder of the civic group Urban ABQ. She will run as an independent candidate.
“I don’t care what party somebody belongs to,” she said. “I’m here to problem-solve and represent the entire residential community of the city.”
Wheeler-Deichsel also said the city also needs to move more quickly to fulfill the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice concerning the Albuquerque Police Department, which requires a host of reforms, including police training and revising use-of-force policies.
She said the settlement “is not moving forward in the way it really should be. It’s very slow. We’re really behind.”
She added that she would appoint a replacement for Albuquerque police Chief Gorden Eden.
Albuquerque reached the settlement agreement in 2014 after the DOJ investigated APD, whose officers had shot more than 40 people since 2010.
Wheeler-Deichsel is one of 10 candidates who will attempt to qualify for public campaign financing, according to the city clerk’s website.
Those candidates must gather contributions of $5 each from 3,802 registered voters by March 31.
Other candidates seeking public financing include: talk radio host Eddy Aragon, an independent; Elan Colello, a Democrat and CEO of a virtual reality company; Lamont Davis; retired police detective Michelle Garcia Holmes, an independent; Rachel Golden; state Auditor Tim Keller, a Democrat; Scott Madison, a Democrat who works with the nuclear weapons program at Kirtland Air Force Base and Sandia National Laboratories; Old Town resident Stella Padilla, a Democrat; and Gus Pedrotty.
Candidates who plan to run privately financed campaigns are: former Bernalillo County Commissioner Deanna Archuleta, a Democrat; Brian Colón, former chairman of the state Democratic Party; Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson, a Republican; and Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis, a Republican.