Colón: Fix Public Safety

Colón: Fix Public Safety

Crime, the Economy, Education all Interlinked, Candidate says

For Brian Colón, the mayor’s race is personal and a chance for him to give back to a community that he says has given him so much in such a short time.

Colón’s parents bought him to New Mexico from the Bronx as an infant, and for many of his years he lived in Section 8 housing in Los Lunas. Because of New Mexico’s social safety nets, Colón has risen out of poverty and has become a lawyer, entrepreneur and a political figure. Nine months ago, he and his wife, Aleli, sent their son, Rafael, to Georgetown University on a President’s Scholarship.

Countdown to a New Mayor

April 1, noon: Deadline for candidates seeking public financing to submit their qualifying donations

April 28: Deadline for mayoral candidates to submit their petition signatures to the clerk’s office

Aug. 4: First day that mayoral and council candidates can begin planting and plastering campaign signs around town

Aug. 9: City clerk certifies candidates for the ballot

Aug. 15: Last day for candidates to withdraw from the race. Also, the filing day for write-in candidates

Aug. 29: First day for absentee ballots to be issued

Sept. 13: Early voting begins

Sept. 29: Early and absentee voting ends

Oct. 3: Election day. Polls are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

“For me, it’s very personal,” Colón said of his run for Albuquerque’s mayor’s office. “I’m looking at it through the lens of someone who was the first in his family to go to college. I was the beneficiary of several government assistance programs. I’m the first in my family to break the cycle of poverty, and as a result of that, my son is someone who will never know those government assistance programs.

“I didn’t fall through the cracks because a lot of organizations and a lot of individuals stood in the gap. I truly feel a debt of gratitude to this community.”

Colón said there are three main issues for his campaign: crime, the economy and education. All three are interlinked, he said, and the way to solve them will be by business people, educators and law enforcement officials to work together.

Colón calls himself the “happy warrior” – an homage to the late Vice President Hubert Humphrey – and believes he can bring diverse groups together to solve those problems.

Public safety

“I have been to about 30 neighborhood association and coalition meetings, and the No. 1 issue is public safety,” he said. “We used to be able to talk in Albuquerque about knowing somebody who had been the victim of property crime. Now you know what we say? Either I have been a victim of property crime or someone in my immediate family has been a victim of property crime.”

To help reduce crime, Colón said he’d get the police department up to 1,100 officers, work on reducing poverty, getting better treatment for people with mental illnesses and get law enforcement officials to work together.

“We have to make sure that the district attorney, the police department and the court system are working more closely together,” Colón said. “The recidivism rates are high and through the roof. The roof is on fire, and no one is bringing a fire hose. You have to have communication between all the stakeholders.

“For me, it’s getting the right people around the table. There are a lot of things we can agree on. We tend to start from the outside and about issues that push people away from the table. I like to start on areas that we agree on.”

Unlike at least three other mayoral candidates, Colón said he wouldn’t immediately fire APD Chief Gorden Eden.

“On day one [as mayor], that is the first meeting I have [with Eden]. Anyone who has devoted themselves to public service deserves to have a sit-down with their new boss,” Colon said. “To get political points by saying his head is on the chopping block is not my approach. That’s not to say that I can see any conversation where it ends well, but he deserves that professional courtesy.”

Education

Colón said all public officials, from the mayor to city councilors, need to be held accountable for public education. The issue is too important to be left to just the Albuquerque Public Schools and that he will appoint a chief education officer to deal with APS, he said.

“Historically, mayors have always gotten a pass when it comes to education. If there’s a problem with education, they’ve said that’s not in their sandbox,” Colón said. “But when you’ve got 80,000 to 100,000 students relying on APS, it is inappropriate for the mayor to walk away.

“If as a mayor I’m not deeply involved with the education and delivery system, I’m not doing my job.”

Economic development

Colón said he will spread the good news about Albuquerque, its businesses and its residents.

“It’s about me being the best ambassador the city has ever had,” Colón said. “It’s about being able to tell the world that we are one of the most dynamic, diverse, culturally enriched places in America. When we tell our story and tell it well, we enjoy success. I’m tired of being at the top of all the bad lists and the bottom of the good ones.”

And finally, Colón said he won’t hide from residents or from city councilors.

“I am committed to attending City Council meetings. There is a seat at the end of the table for the mayor, and I’m going to be in it. If a councilor says, ‘This is the mayor’s project,’ I’m going to stand beside them so they can direct questions to me.”

Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

The following two tabs change content below.
Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.
[wpproads id=17987]7 comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

7 Comments

  • Anonymous
    February 23, 2017, 6:37 am

    When something sounds to good to be true, it usually is.

    REPLY
    • Mick McMahan@Anonymous
      March 7, 2017, 11:26 am

      Please save me from a mayor attending a council meeting. Council meetings are neither a place to castigate the mayor or listen to his pontifications.

      REPLY
    • Mick McMahan@Anonymous
      March 7, 2017, 11:26 am

      Please save me from a mayor attending a council meeting. Council meetings are neither a place to castigate the mayor or listen to his pontifications.

      REPLY
  • Anonymous
    March 6, 2017, 12:56 pm

    He definitely is aggressive, saying all the right things with all the right buzzwords and phrases, but can’t get a sense of his "heart" anywhere. Perhaps he is a "climber" ? Do we really need someone to "Spread the News" about what a great place Abq is to cash in on ? Seems like another Berry to me.

    REPLY
    • Claudia Anderson@Anonymous
      March 6, 2017, 11:16 pm

      I’ve known Brian Colon for well over 10 years now. Honestly,I don’t think you could find anyone with a bigger heart. let me give you an example remember the Boston Marathon bombing? Brian was touched by a picture he saw the next morning

      REPLY
    • Claudia Anderson@Anonymous
      March 6, 2017, 11:16 pm

      I’ve known Brian Colon for well over 10 years now. Honestly,I don’t think you could find anyone with a bigger heart. let me give you an example remember the Boston Marathon bombing? Brian was touched by a picture he saw the next morning

      REPLY
      • Claudia Anderson@Claudia Anderson
        March 6, 2017, 11:21 pm

        He decided to raise money to help with the mini medical bills that arose. He said it gold to raise $47,000 because New Mexico was the 47th state. Within three weeks he had raised it and a bit more besides. that might give you a better sense of the kind of man he is

        REPLY
The following two tabs change content below.
Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.