Mayoral candidates show differences in KOB debate
Posted at: 09/29/2013 11:51 PM
| Updated at: 09/30/2013 8:16 AM
By: Tom Joles, KOB Eyewitness News 4 and KOB.com staff
There are some clear differences between the three men running for Albuquerque mayor.
We saw that on Sunday morning when the three men debated on KOB-TV.
At times, it was contentious, but it was also really revealing about who these men are, and what they stand for.
"Right now we have problems and we can't hide from these problems. We have to face them Albuquerque. You can't solve a problem by hiding from it," said Paul Heh.
Heh, who is way back in the polls, sold himself as the people's candidate.
"I am you, Albuquerque. I am not a politician," Heh said.
Former city councilor and Safe City Strike Force Director Pete Dinelli made no bones about being a politician.
Dinelli once again mentioned his party affiliation, even though it is a non-partisan race.
"My name is Pete Dinelli. I'm a Democrat."
Even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in Albuquerque, a poll last week shows incumbent Richard Berry leading Dinelli among Democrats.
Dinelli argued Berry is weak on what matters.
"During the last four years, Albuquerque has lost thousands of jobs, business have closed down. The working class and middle class are hurting," Dinelli said.
Berry argued he sees a city moving in the right direction.
The clear leader in the polls, Berry portrayed himself as a no-nonsense public servant who knows how to work with people, and get things done.
"I'm a busy guy. I love the job and I have a passion for it," Berry said.
The Albuquerque Police Department has been a headache for Berry, with the Justice Department now investigating it.
However, Berry defended it.
"The neighborhoods are safer. I'm proud of our police department. I'm proud of what we accomplished in the last four year," Berry said.
"Mr. Berry, I don't understand what department you're describing. The Albuquerque Police Department is in a complete meltdown," Dinelli added.
"Look folks, I'm you, I drive around the city and I see the crime," Heh said.
The candidates differed on many issues, with Heh and Dinelli often ganging up on Berry.
Heh challenged voters who do not think he has a chance.
"This is a David versus Goliath event. I'm standing here with my rock. You know what my rock is. My rock is your vote," Heh said.
Dinelli said he wanted people to take him seriously, but made it clear there is more to him than just his serious demeanor.
"People tell me I'm too serious--you don't smile. Fact is, I'm very optimistic about my city, about our citizens, but I know we can do better," Dinelli said.
Berry urged voters not to listen to his opponents when they say he is too laid back.
"They say you're laid back but I don't want people to confuse that. We don't go out of our way to be self-promoters," said Berry. "We don't get up and be shrill and angry. Pound our fists a lot. But if you came down to the mayor's office on any given day, you'd find a beehive."