1) What's your plan of action for three major citywide issues?
Public Safety: Increase the Albuquerque Police Department by 100 officers in 18 months, push our lawmakers for tougher penalties for repeat offenders and expand community policing and neighborhood watch programs. Forge new partnerships with our schools.
Economic Development: Grow our film industry, continue attracting clean, high-paying green jobs, support small businesses in doing business with the city and begin redevelopment of our rail yards.
Quality of life: Expand our Art Museum and Botanic Gardens, open the 508 Teen Center, connect our BioPark train down Tingley with the Hispanic Cultural Center.
2) What do you offer that the other candidates don't?
A proven track record of getting things done. I’m the only candidate who has actually balanced a city budget or managed a large organization. Whether it’s expanded bicycle trails, the creation of Rapid Ride or the landscaping of Albuquerque, building Explora, the Balloon Fiesta Park and Museum or renovating Tingley Beach, I’m the only candidate who has major accomplishments. My vision is long-term and my passion and work capacity unmatched. Under my leadership, Albuquerque is at or near the top of all the “right” lists.
3) How can we balance city growth with sustainability?
The Climate Action Plan is a blueprint for sustainability. It calls for a reduction of our carbon footprint of 80 percent by 2050. It targets specific areas including planning, building codes, transportation, acquisition and utilization of energy. I signed the Planned Growth Strategy into law. Under my leadership, we built the San Juan Chama project, developed our water conservation programs and reduced water use by a full third even as we expanded our accounts by a third. I am steering Albuquerque away from reliance on single-occupancy vehicles.
4) What will you do to help city residents who are struggling with the economic downturn?
I established a collaborative of all our social services to develop a one-stop shop for those who have lost or are about to lose their homes. I will continue working to attract new jobs to Albuquerque and maintain a “small business” friendly environment. We have held periodic job fairs to continue to match those needing work with employers. CNM will be increasingly important for retraining.
5) What's your take on public transportation, and do you support modern rail?
I created Rapid Ride and worked with UNM and CNM to provide free passes for students. I have built our bicycle trail network into one of the best in the country. I am the only candidate who supports a modern rail system with the provision that it must be first voted upon by the public. There will always be a place and need for single-occupancy vehicles, but we cannot endlessly build only for them. I support a diverse transportation portfolio.
6) What can be done to improve public safety?
We need to grow our police department by an additional 100 officers, but we also need to demand that our Legislature approve tougher penalties for violent felonies. I want to expand our Family Advocacy Center, which is a one-stop shop for victims of violent crime and enhances our ability to secure convictions, allowing victims to begin healing sooner. Our programs with the schools and in our community centers are essential to preventing crime before it occurs.
7) How will you work with APS to improve education
I am working with APS to develop a formal Dropout Prevention Plan. We now have school resource officers (police) in each middle and high school who make personal home visits. We are now training teachers and assistants to identify the signs of clinical depression so that teens can be referred for services quickly.
8) Do you support a city-funded arena / events complex / hotel Downtown?
Absolutely, but it must be approved by the voters.
James Whiton at Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse
South Valley Christmas Craft Fair at Sisneros Insurance Agency
Art Collision & Repair Shop at Center for Contemporary ArtsMore Recommented Events ››