The paper. asks candidates to explain why they are running for election and to explain solutions to our city’s problems in their own words. We have included their full responses, with very little modification. There are six city council candidates running in District 7. Lori Robertson and Andres Patrick Valdez Sr. did not respond to the questionnaire.
The paper.: Thank you for introducing yourself.
Emilie De Angelis: I led Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense for four years, turning it into a statewide force that passed two landmark public safety bills in Santa Fe. I chair the board of ABQ public art and works professionally in the non-profit sector. Top of my list: Developing violence prevention and intervention programs to address all forms of violence rather than the “war on crime” approach. I also prioritize affordable housing, quality job creation and capital projects for a healthier, water-efficient and more sustainable city.
Tammy Fiebelkorn: I am originally from New Mexico and have lived in District 7 for 20 years. I am running for city council because I want to adopt progressive policies to improve Albuquerque. I am an environmental economist with over 30 years of experience in climate change mitigation and environmental justice. I founded a non-profit organization that trains law enforcement in how to reduce all forms of family violence. I have worked with city councilors and city staff for the past 20 years in Albuquerque and know how to get results.
Travis Kellerman: I came to Albuquerque almost twenty years ago. At UNM, I have organized and led several social and economic justice groups. I worked as a policy analyst for Martin Heinrich when he was on city council. I saw that local government was where the real dialogue and impact was happening – and that’s why I’m running for city council. I co-founded Lavu Inc. We proved that a technological economy can exist here and that a living wage can be paid to hire local people. We deserve an inclusive economy.
Mauro Montoya: As a longtime community activist and a native of Albuquerque, I know and love the people of our great city and understand the challenges we face as we emerge from the pandemic. As a local business owner and past president of the New Mexico Out Business Alliance, I understand the needs of small businesses in Albuquerque. I run to bring my knowledge, my work ethic and my respect for Albuquerque to City Council.
What are the root causes of crime and how can they be remedied?
From Angelis: A combination of drug addiction, trauma and poverty contributes significantly to crime. I will develop our intervention program against violence; create a team in hospital emergencies to stop the retaliatory shootings; test a street awareness program; prioritize 24-hour crisis services for young people up to the age of 24; fund the Ministry of Community Safety; and extend and deepen community policing. We need to increase services for mental health, addictions, domestic violence, sexual assault and youth in crisis to see change.
Fiebelkorn: The root causes of crime in our city are economic inequality, poverty, mental health issues, addiction and hopelessness. As a municipal councilor, I will support exits from poverty through vocational training, job creation, the development of professional paths and apprenticeships for young people. I will advocate for economic development activities to attract new sustainable businesses, including small and micro businesses that pay a living wage. I will also be pushing for full funding for mental health and addiction recovery programs.
Kellerman: Poverty, inequalities, addictions. Set specific goals and build data models + a new collection and a new platform to measure progress. An inclusive economy refuses poverty: decent wages, affordable housing towards home ownership, unionization, adaptation of small businesses, entrepreneurs. I proposed a Community Impact Fund to compensate for the displacement. Substance abuse requires long term investment and state / federal coordination + resources to disrupt cycles, systems and build new social infrastructure.
Montoya: Crime affects the quality of life of citizens, business investments and the value of properties. We need a fully staffed DPA, working in partnership with our community to make Albuquerque safer. It is essential to expand the community security service to alleviate the burden on the police, to increase the recruitment of officers and to comply with the ministry of justice.
What policy would you change to end homelessness in Albuquerque?
From Angelis: We should link the Gateway Center’s good plan to a larger plan for affordable housing and communicate it widely as how we provide options and hope as a city. We should commit to creating additional shelters to ensure a functional, efficient and accessible network of sites. It is essential to increase mental health, addiction, domestic violence, sexual assault, youth crisis and workforce training services. Safety net services prevent people from ending up on the streets.
Fiebelkorn: Unfortunately, ending homelessness will require many policy changes and budget prioritization over many years. Immediately, I will be pushing to fund as many drug addiction, behavioral health, job training, work placement, and transitional housing programs as possible. I will add funding for more social workers and navigators to guide individuals through programs. I would like to see public toilets and water fountains to allow homeless people to live with dignity.
Kellerman: Report zero functional homelessness. Invest in data infrastructure to measure ROI with each program / policy for functional zero impact accountability and budget. Scale an efficient cottage model, shipping containers with worthy basics – water, power, wifi – as decentralized transitional housing. Gateway Center as triage, long-term institutional care for people unable to transition – addiction and mental illness. “Human needs” as the primary data field in first responder reports.
Montoya: We need a guaranteed basic income in Albuquerque. The fight against income inequality will benefit us all. This is the only way to ensure the safety of the homeless population in Albuquerque. The Gateway Center is a good start, but it’s just the start. We will need a lot more facilities like the Gateway Center. It would be much more effective to create a guaranteed basic income that will level the playing field and ensure that all citizens of Albuquerque have a fighting chance.
Each neighborhood is unique. What is the challenge you will face that will help the people living and working in your neighborhood?
From Angelis: We have neighborhoods in over a dozen areas flooded due to outdated storm water planning, climate change storms, and our neighborhood’s landscaped grid design. Residents are against a municipal plan to create 10 ‘deep retention ponds in several parks as a solution. We need more thoughtful solutions, both immediate and long-term, that don’t sacrifice our parks as monsoon storms intensify.
Fiebelkorn: Two areas of District 7 are flooded with heavy rains. I will prioritize the implementation of the solutions developed in the study currently underway by the city. I would also lobby for the infrastructure needed to make District 7 more accessible on foot and by bike, and for revitalization efforts in our business lines. These infrastructure projects are important because they all contribute to a sense of community which improves the quality of life, community safety and equity in District 7.
Kellerman: District 7 needs a multigenerational center. Currently there is no community center. After-school programs thrive and support working families only when they have a central location, an established place of collaboration and support. Pre-apprenticeships and vocational training reinforce the value of the trades and support the critical need of workers in the new economy to build and rebuild infrastructure ready for the future of our city and to realize the potential of the creative economy in Albuquerque .
Montoya: The lack of affordable housing is a pervasive problem and Albuquerque is no exception. Auxiliary units, properly regulated, would create additional affordable housing. With an appropriate contribution from the community, I fully support them. However, subsidizing mixed commercial / residential properties, apartments above stores, can also be a great source of affordable housing. We need an “all of the above” approach to make Albuquerque an affordable, livable city that will attract new businesses and residents.
Will you vote for the proposed $ 50 million public bond to build a multi-purpose stadium that the NM United USL football team will primarily use?
From Angelis: Yes.
Would you be in favor of repealing Albuquerque’s immigrant-friendly policy?
From Angelis: No.
Would you be in favor of repealing the city’s ban on single-use plastic bags?
From Angelis: No.
Do you support making free public transportation permanent in Albuquerque?
From Angelis: Yes.