Occupation: Baker, Baking Consultant, Writer
Political Experience: Election poll worker; president, election poll location; worker, absentee count, city special election; registration of voters; worker, on campaigns of political candidates; executive officer, student association; president, racing oriented bicycle club.
1. What's your plan of action for three major issues in your district?
First is the sustainable, multi-use development in the Uptown area. The Uptown area near Louisiana and Indian School is a multi-use development, which does or will contribute to the profitability of Albuquerque; tourists, retail customers, residents, and local employees all provide beneficial activity in the established business center Uptown. Further development of a hotel, office space, residential units, and open space will only add to the profitability, as well as the activity in this area. With an eye toward profitability, there can be a tendency to overlook the need to plan such a compact development. I would look to help coordinate the implementation of the Uptown Sector Plan, the proposed Business Improvement Plan, current and any future TIDDs, and the future planned growth strategy to the benefit of all those in or interacting with the Uptown area.
Second, is the balanced inclusion of neighborhood associations and commercial activities. District 7 is an older portion of town, which has a diversity of residents. Some are young and looking toward new trends, while others are older and wishing their neighborhoods remained as they were for the years since they moved in. Be it a new development that changes the look and feel of buildings on Menaul, a development’s impact on traffic in the area, or an increase in noise and light, neighbors—especially through their neighborhood associations—should have a voice in the development process. As a supporter of both commercial development and neighbors, I would work toward mutually agreeable outcomes for all involved. My criterion to this end would be to support neighborhood cohesiveness, multi-use facilities, and economic development of the area.
Third, is the general development of the infrastructure in the district. Roads, landscaping, a permanent recreation center, redevelopment of long-vacant buildings are just some of the many areas I would direct my attention. While the incumbent Sally Mayer provided well for district 7 and has many supporters, she is fairly criticized for not devoting enough attention to the area as a whole. Pockets of the district were definitely under-represented; I would work to represent the many sectors of district 7 on issues that affect them.
2) What’s your take on three major citywide issues?
First, the hotel/arena center to be located in Downtown. I can understand the need for additional hotel space in Albuquerque. Locating such a hotel in the Downtown area would dramatically add to the city’s capacity to accommodate people going to conventions here. Additional retail and office space can also be included in such a facility as occurred in the Hyatt Regency hotel. All of this development I can and do support. What is questionable in my mind is the building of an athletic oriented arena/event center. Any such facility would be best if multi-use, yet the nearby Santa Anna Star Center is proof to me that multi-use facilities can be difficult to successfully manage. Multi-use requires many long-term tenants, and I do not think the city can guarantee such committed use. I, thus, cannot support the arena portion of such a project, especially as an extension of available space in our convention center. If such a facility should be proposed, any city funding should be approved by voters.
Second, light rail. As I mentioned elsewhere in these responses, I think light rail can be too expensive, inflexible, and limited; such an approach does not strike me as the best way to provide mass transit. I would support the continued study of any available technology and density that would warrant such a system, yet, for now, I think our city dollars would be better spent on an improved bus-based transportation system.
Third, I am concerned about the administration’s tendency to inadequately budget and plan municipal projects, such as the light rail system and Tingley beach swimming pool. These, and like projects, if poorly planned, warrant more review, yet they are pursued nonetheless. While I am not against municipal development, and think such projects can add to our quality of life, I think such development should be measured with a dose of accountability and savings.
3) How can we balance city growth with sustainability?
Well-planned growth accommodates both the city’s limited means for infrastructure and the residents’ desire to build anywhere. Interestingly, the costs of extending services are often the very limitation to a city’s ability to approve sprawling developments. I believe growth can be expensive, and therefore, I support the imposition of impact fees that pay for extensions to, and also improve the value of, developed land. While such fees are a perceived barrier to some, they are affordable to developers in a healthy economy. The Council reduced these fees to help stimulate our struggling economy, which is suffering due to lost construction jobs. Yet, with thriving development, it is worth pointing out that our city needs to reduce sprawl, infill existing areas and build sustainable, walkable communities that are accommodating neighborhoods. I support and would work to develop such managed, planned, sustainable growth.
4) What will you do to help residents in your district who are struggling with the economic downturn?
During a recession, expenditures should be kept low, and growth should be stimulated. Existing programs, such as library-based research, career development through local schools and job searches through local agencies should be maximized. Slow times also produce opportunities for self- or contract-type employment. Local business development centers should be encouraging and facilitating peoples’ desires. Lastly, growth can be stimulated by facilitating an individual’s development of job skills, a company’s connection to customers and the city’s maintenance of employment numbers.
5) What's your take on public transportation, and do you support modern rail?
I support a strong, planned, efficient bus-based transportation system. I believe its strength comes from its breadth and versatility, and buses best offer such outcomes. Fixed route buses offering basic service, circulating buses pooling riders, and commuter buses, including Rapid Ride, connecting far-reaching pockets of residents each serve aspects of our residents’ needs well. Yet, the system can be improved with more frequent service on many east-west streets, much better service on north-south streets, later service and more frequent weekend service. The proposed quarter-cent transportation tax will fund such improvements. The tax could, with voter approval, also fund a proposed rail system—a system I do not support. I do not think a rail or trolley, despite their economic possibilities, would best serve Albuquerque’s residents. Such a system could prove expensive, inflexible and limited. Yet, I would support an environmental impact study, which could show the need for a system in the future.
6) What can be done to improve public safety?
Public safety is a collective effort including our police, EMS, and fire departments along with our neighborhood associations and residents. Public safety should be addressed both proactively and reactively. Initially, we can stimulate conversation between the police department and our residents and creating community policing, which includes neighborhood watches, increased detection and neighborhood awareness. Measures facilitating this outcome can include increased lighting, subsidies for alarm systems and increasing APD officers’ presence in neighborhoods. Additionally, we can address the drug and mental illness reasons many become criminals. One reactive measure is ensuring response times of the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department, as well as Albuquerque Ambulance are within acceptable limits.
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