Albuquerque mayor responds to opponent's criticisms

Posted at: 02/16/2013 10:31 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry officially announced he would run for re-election.

He also had some comments about his opponents’ statements against him and his record as mayor.

Berry made his announcement Saturday at the Flying Star on Wyoming and Paseo del Norte.

He outlined his plan for his second term. “Continue to fight crime,” Berry said. “Continue to make Albuquerque a great place to live, work and play, moving forward with ABQ The Plan. Getting Paseo Del Norte and 1-25 finished. Continue with downtown revitalization with the Convention Center, so there's a lot to do.”

Berry then addressed opponents Pete Dinelli and retired Albuquerque Police Department Sgt. Paul Heh. Both took shots at the mayor for his handling of the city’s economy and for the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into civil rights violations by APD.

“Certainly some of the comments and some of the rhetoric have been very harsh, kind of shrill and angry, if you will. My campaign is going to be about bringing the community together. About building us up and all of us working together toward a brighter future,” Berry said.

Both Dinelli and Heh responded to a Berry’s announcement and his comments about their criticisms. “If that's what you call shrill, what we're looking at, in fact, is the record,” Dinelli said. “And we're going to have a discussion because this mayor has offered absolutely no plan for economic development.”

Heh also expressed displeasure.

“I am angry. I am very angry. Because I am sick and tired of reading the newspaper, hearing on the news that once again we made the top of another bad list,” Heh said.

Saturday was the first time candidates could officially start gathering the 3,000 petition signatures required to have their names on the Oct. 8 ballot.

Former Albuquerque First Lady Margaret Aragon de Chavez began her path to possible candidacy Saturday. Chavez is the former wife of previous Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez.

Albuquerque attorney Jay Flowers also picked up ballot petitions.

Dinelli, Heh and Chavez will all be pursuing public financing for the campaign.

That means they will also need more than 3,600 signatures with a five dollar donation. Mayor Berry has elected for private financing.