Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mayoral Candidate Questions Chavez' Priorities

The day after the Albuquerque City Clerk began accepting early absentee ballots in his office, Richard J.Berry, a candidate for Mayor, is speaking out.

This afternoon, Berry sent reporters a news release and questioned Mayor Martin J. Chavez’ timing for announcing $275,000 in city tax dollars to go to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office for more prosecutors.

Berry said that the District Attorney’s Office must have the resources it needs to complete its important work, but called Chavez' proposal a disingenuous election season stunt, because during the 2009 legislative session Chavez lobbied the New Mexico Legislature to appropriate funding for mass transit options instead of funding for more prosecutors in Bernalillo County. Also, Chavez still cannot fund the 100 officers he promised to add to the Albuquerque Police Department.

“If Marty wanted to show leadership concerning public safety in Albuquerque, he should have asked the legislature for funding that would have had a positive impact on crime. Instead he lobbied to fund more mass transit options, such as his $300 million trolley car,” said
Berry, a two-term state representative who fought for and voted to fully fund district attorney’s offices across the state.

Berry, who sits on the Appropriations and Finance Committee, made a motion to fund the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office at the highest level available. That motion was passed and the office received a higher level of funding.

“This is nothing more than a $275,000 smokescreen. If this program was a true priority for Chavez, he would have asked the legislature to fund it instead of asking for money for his trolley,” said Berry. “In the last weeks of the campaign Chavez is scrambling to appear tough on crime in the hope that voters will forget his record, but after twelve years as mayor, he has been unable to solve the problem.”

Berry, who has called on Chavez to explain why he believes deficit spending is the way to run Albuquerque's city government, recently pointed out that since 2004 Chavez’ administration has raided $112 million from public safety and quality of life projects to support a city budget that he grew by almost 50 percent from 2003 through 2007.

“Instead of solving the city’s fiscal problems, Marty’s made another expensive campaign promise,” said Berry.

Berry, who owns a local contracting company with his wife, was recently endorsed by the New Mexico Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors

Earlier in the campaign, Berry pledged to get tough on gangs, reduce property crime in Albuquerque and end the so-called "sanctuary city" policy for criminals put in place by the Chavez Administration.

Unregistered voters have until Tuesday, September 8th to register to vote. Early voting at three other city locations begins September 16th.

Photos: MG Bralley

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