Paul Heh, retired APD officer, enters Albuquerque mayor's race; Berry still mum

Posted at: 02/09/2013 10:34 PM
Updated at: 02/09/2013 10:38 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Another name has entered the race for Albuquerque mayor.

Former Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Paul Heh announced in front of City Hall Saturday that he would run for mayor.

Heh was a 24 year veteran with APD before he retired in 2011.

He criticized Mayor Richard Berry and the police department for being investigated by the Department of Justice due to numerous allegations of civil rights violations.

Heh also had problems with the mayor's handling of the economy and with drug issues affecting property crime in the city.

"It is your fault,” Heh said. “You are the mayor. And if you're not solving the problem, then get out of the way and let somebody else solve it. Albuquerque's not approaching the cliff. Albuquerque is not standing on the precipice of the cliff. We're over the cliff. And we're hanging onto a rope and that rope is starting to fray.”

Mayor Berry's office said it would not comment on the statements made at Heh's press conference.

Former Albuquerque Public Safety Officer Pete Dinelli announced his candidacy in January.

Local political blogger Joe Monahan addressed the mayoral race after Heh’s announcement.

"Paul Heh has hit a few good pitches off of Mayor Berry here in the early going,” Monahan said. “But can he get past the first inning? It is really hard to get onto this mayoral ballot. A lot of petition signatures are required.”

Candidates will need signatures from 1 percent of registered voters in Albuquerque, roughly 3,500 to 4,000 signatures, to have their name placed on the ballot.

Monahan said the official petition signature number will come when the city clerk reports the total registered Albuquerque voters.

Other possible running candidates include Former Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish and city councilor Ken Sanchez.

Current Mayor Berry has not made any public comments regarding re-election. U.S. Department of Agriculture Executive Terry Brunner, another rumored candidate said he has no plans to enter the race.

He said he wanted to focus on the rural communities of New Mexico with his current job.

The candidates can start getting their signatures for the mayoral race on February 16.