Sunland Park City Election

March 1, 2016

 Sunland Park elects a mayor and four city council members on March 1. The Santa Teresa News invited all of the candidates to submit answers to a questionnaire about their views. We will post them as we receive them.


Candidates can mail back their questionnaires to PO Box 1765, Santa Teresa, NM 88008 or e-mail responses to editor@SantaTeresaNews.com

 

 Sunland Park Council Districts

 Mayor - Elected for four-year term

Sergio Carrillo, 117 Father Luis Catano

No response yet received

Javier Perea, 25 years old, 121 Del Prado

Years at home address:  25 years Years in Sunland Park: 25

Employment:  

Education: BBA with honors from New Mexico State University


Why are your running for this office? I want to make a difference in my community.  After the 2012 scandal the rocked our city, I made the decision to get involved and do something about it to try and fix it.  My firm belief is that if I want to see change, it has to start with me.  So, I asked to be appointed as mayor in 2012 and have been in office ever since.  During my term, we have endured many challenges but I can say we have left this City in a much better place.  I am seeking reelection to continue with those changes and improve the quality of life for ALL residents of Sunland Park.


Political experience, offices held: Mayor – August 1, 2012 – Present; Board Member, South Central Regional Transit District – 2012-Present & Vice Chair – 2015 to Present;Board Member, Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority – 2012 -Present & Vice Chair 2015 to present; Board Member, El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization – 2012 to Present; Board Member, Camino Real Consortium – 2014 to Present; Board Member, South Central Council of Governments – 2012 to Present; Board Member, Anthony Chamber of Commerce – 2015


What are the most important issues facing Sunland Park in the next four years and how do you propose to use your office to face these issues? Community involvement, infrastructure, economic development, and rapid growth.  If elected, I will focus on developing a city wide master plan that addresses all of the issues listed above.  The city-wide plan will allow us to develop and create a unified strategy that will dictate the look, feel, and safety of our communities. Regarding economic development, I have already pushed for certain tools such as the Metropolitan Redevelopment District and the Local Economic Development Act Ordinance that open up funding opportunities for the City.  I will push for the full use of these and other tools that allow new ways to generate funding for infrastructure, services and economic development.  I will promote community involvement with committees or commissions such as the parks and recreation commission, planning and zoning commission, ethics committee, and the economic development committee.  I recognize that there are plenty of residents who have many talents and contribute their city.  The more minds we can put to work together the better we can handle community issues.


Why do you feel you are a better choice for this office than your opponent? After serving as mayor for 3 ½ years, I am better equipped to continue working as of day one.  I have restored trust across many agencies and fostered relationships for Sunland Park across the state.  I possess the ability to look at issues that impact our community with an open mind and I am well versed on the role and limitations of municipal government.  In 2014 I graduated as a certified municipal official from the New Mexico Municipal League.


Disincorporation has been proposed by some for Sunland Park. Your feelings on this issue and its outcome if put to a vote. I strongly oppose the disincorporation of the City of Sunland Park.  As one of the safest cities in New Mexico, we would jeopardize our safety by the loss of police, fire, and public works departments.  All municipal services would be lost and that would be a step back and a disservice to our growing community.  I morally cannot support the disincorporation of our community.  


What is most needed in Sunland Park to improve the city and life for its citizens? Economic development.  Currently, our community is a bedroom community to El Paso.  When people spend their money, they spend it in El Paso and the City of Sunland Park loses all those revenues.  Economic development has to occur in our City if we want to expand the level of service our government can provide.  

 

What is your position on economic growth for Sunland Park and how can it best be developed? I strongly support economic development in the City.  It can best be developed by having a stable government and practices that enable that development to happen.  The City currently has opportunities to revamp the municipal code and use tools available by the state to fund projects. 


How do you feel public safety issues are being addressed in Sunland Park? Are police and fire protection adequate or need to be improved? There is always room for improvement.  No government is perfect.  Our police and fire department still need improved facilities and equipment.  

This year our fire department improved from an ISO rating of 7 to a 5.  My administration is currently looking the purchasing two new fire trucks to replace an aging fleet and improving our ISO rating from a 5 to a 4. Our police department recently saw upgrades to new police units, body cameras for all officers, and improved radio communications.  We have started more community policing and have established more frequent presence of officers at schools. I feel there is still room for growth in the size our departments, competitive wages, and better facilities.  

In recent years new residential developments have in Sunland Park, changing the economic demographics of the community. What problems and advantages does this create in Sunland Park and how should these economic changes be addressed by the council?  The challenge the City is currently facing amid new residential development is finding the balance of the services needed to be provided in the new areas along with meeting the demands of the aged infrastructure in the older parts of town. The advantages the new developments bring is housing for our growing families and new residents with many talents.  We need to capitalize on the skills that are being brought into our community.  New rooftops also make it attractive for new businesses to come in and cater to these new developments.  My recommendation to the council is to focus on developing policy that promotes sustainable communities through a city-wide master plan and fosters business development.  


Are there any other issues upon which you want to express your position/opinion?

City Council - District One (unexpired term - 2 years)

Kenneth Giove, 57 years old, 104 San Jose Court

Years at home address:  5 years Years in Sunland Park: 5

Employment:  Retired ICE officer 

Education: Graduate Ironton, Ohio, HS, Aurora Community College


Why are your running for this office? In 2012 I became aware of the city's political instability and as a resident of Sunland Park, I was deeply disturbed.It was apparent that the city was i need of assistance and I felt I could contribute to correcting the problem. In 2014, I was appointed to the City Council. A;though my experience as a Councilor underwent some growing pains, I had had the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the City and its citizens. I am dedicated to the improvement of the city. As citizens of Sunland Park, we are entitled to an ethical government and an improvement of the quality of life. I believe my dedication and hard work can help improve the status of the city


Political experience, offices held: City Councilor, Sunland Park, July 2014-present


What are the most important issues facing Sunland Park in the next four years and how do you propose to use your office to face these issues? 1. Working to create a port of entry has been and would continue to be an important issue to focus on. The City of Sunland Park has faced financial hardships. Not only is a port of entry logical and necessary, but it would help the City gain financial security.If I am elected, this would be an area of focus which would be worked towards  by working with community members, business leaders and fellow city government. 2. Another important issue is to become more efficient. The city recently purchased software which will allow for better communication between departments. However, it is imperative that the software be implemented properly in order to ensure success. This would allow for a more efficient use of time and resources. 3.Sunland Park City and the County have a Joint Practices Agreement with CRRUA. The agreement is in need of improvement and the city would benefit from a renegotiation of the terms.4. Increased community involvement through improved communication is essential. Despite the technological advances, it is estimated only one third of our population has a computer. Further, 95% of our population speaks Spanish. This creates a unique situation for the City. Outreach methods which may work in other cities may not be as effective here. In order to resolve this, we recently purchased a robocall computer to allow the city communicate with residents via phone. These methods has been effective, however we need to continue to find ways to reach the citizens. Possible ways in which we could do this may be through the involvement of local businesses and churches. 5. The city needs to increase revenue and find new sources of revenue. This can be done by adding a franchise fee on CRRUA and by renegotiating contracts prior to their expiration. Additionally, having an efficient system in place for developers and business would help address this issue. 


Why do you feel you are a better choice for this office than your opponent? I believe my dedication, experience and education provide me with the ability to better serve the City of Sunland Park. For the past year and a half I have served as a City Councilor and have been able to consider the issues presented on the agenda. Prior to this, I attended meetings consistently and gained an extensive understanding of the city's history and current status. My dedication to the city served as the impetus for me to extensively research these factors. Overall, I believe I have the experience, knowledge and leadership ethic necessary to help build a secure foundation for the city.


Disincorporation has been proposed by some for Sunland Park. Your feelings on this issue and its outcome if put to a vote. The City of Sunland Park contains a population of approximately 20,000residents which continues to grow steadily. These individuals are in need of basic services such as health, safety and welfare which can be adequately provided by the City of Sunland Park. If the city were to disincorporate, the provision of these services would be deferred to Dona Ana County which does not has the resources to meet the needs of our citizens For example, the Sheriff's Department takes approximately 2 hours to respond to a call from Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa's roads that belong to the county are in need of improvement; however the county does not have the funds to make such improvements. Thus, disincorporation would leave the residents without the basic services that they are in need of.


What is most needed in Sunland Park to improve the city and life for its citizens? Sunland Park would benefit from strong leadership that puts the needs of citizens first and foremost. Strong leadership would build and enforce the foundation necessary for growth.


What is your position on economic growth for Sunland Park and how can it best be developed? The city must work to gain the reputation as a quality place to live and work. In order to do this, the city must be seen as efficient, clean and friendly.


How do you feel public safety issues are being addressed in Sunland Park? Are police and fire protection adequate or need to be improved? The Police and Fire Department both have a good reputation. Although no department is perfect, both departments have made improvements and are continuing to do so in response to the needs of the residents.


In recent years new residential developments have in Sunland Park, changing the economic demographics of the community. What problems and advantages does this create in Sunland Park and how should these economic changes be addressed by the council? New developments have created population imbalance between districts. Redistricting has even out districts, allowing for an equal vote. This has allowed the new developments to put a new councilor in office. Further, they have expressed interest in working with the city with issues such as planning and zoning The city council approved a resolution set forth by the mayor to form committees incorporating new developments in order to bring in their expertise and ideas. By working together we can find ways to address many of the issues facing the city.


Are there any other issues upon which you want to express your position/opinion? It has been an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Sunland Park. There are many people who do not receive recognition for the work they do. The work the mayor and the Department of Finance have accomplished in straightening out the finances is just the beginning. It will be up to the next Council to build upon the progress made and it will be up to the citizens to ensure the city moves forward.

Jesus Nunez, 101 Sueno Court

No response yet received

City Council - District Four - elected for four-year term

Elizabeth Gamez, 103 Sierra Vista Court

No response yet received

Carolina Renteria, 204 Luna

No response yet received

Ana Orozco, 855 Valle Vista Drive

No response yet received

Write-In Candidate

City Council - District Five - elected for four-year term

Olga Arguelles, 104 Calle Diaz

No response yet received

Maria L. Santos, 495 El Cerro

No response yet received

City Council - District Six - elected for four-year term

Fernando Clemente,  41 years old, 5837 Essex Lane

Years at home address: 4  years Years in Sunland Park: 4

Employment:  Owner, wildlife biologist New Mexico Specialized Wildlife Services

Education: New Mexico State University, BS Argriculture (Wildlife Science)


Why are your running for this office? Every day that I go to work from home I have to cross the city of Sunland Park and I can see the potential that this city has. I am a person that cares for the city, state and country that I live in, and especially because this is the place that I call home. As a resident of our city my obligations to improve this place for future generations better than it was left to me and for this reason I would like to work very hard within my community. Interest in youth, environment, public safety, education, economic development and better city planning are some of the reasons that drive me to run for city council, so we can make the difference we need within our community.


Political experience, offices held: First run for public office.


What are the most important issues facing Sunland Park in the next four years and how do you propose to use your office to face these issues? The most important issues facing Sunland Park are bringing the community together, public safety, education, economic development, public infrastructure and health. I will face these issues by being a respectful and honest leader in our community. Well informed on the issues that Sunland Park faces by maintaining good communications with the residents of district #6. I will work closely with homeowners associations to continue to uphold the values and standards of those neighborhoods and their investments located within district #6. I will seek funding for maintenance and construction of good, safe streets in district #6.


Why do you feel you are a better choice for this office than your opponent? Because I believe that I can make a difference for our community. I am a small businessman and educator, who values family, honesty and leadership.


Disincorporation has been proposed by some for Sunland Park. Your feelings on this issue and its outcome if put to a vote. I disagree with the disincorporation of Sunland Park. I believe that bad representation with no information and lack of education has led Sunland Park into the issue of disincorporation. The City of Sunland Park needs good representation that will inform and educate our community to avoid this type of conflict. After attending the meetings of such issue I realized that the majority of the citizens do not approve the disincorporation of Sunland Park.


What is most needed in Sunland Park to improve the city and life for its citizens? I believe that the City of Sunland Park needs good leadership that increases opportunity for residents. By bringing vision, commitment to education, and high standards, we can improve public safety, reduce poverty and create more activities for youth, increase jobs and economic development.


What is your position on economic growth for Sunland Park and how can it best be developed? I am pro-economic development. Economic growth can be improved by having better relations with investors, better marketing, a better image and accessible and fair permitting process.


How do you feel public safety issues are being addressed in Sunland Park? Are police and fire protection adequate or need to be improved?  With the understanding that Sunland Park currently has budget constraints, I believe the police and fire departments are currently doing a good job under their chief's leadership. These departments will always need improvement as the community grows, and that is why we need to continue to strive and obtain national recommended standards for the size of our community.


In recent years new residential developments have in Sunland Park, changing the economic demographics of the community. What problems and advantages does this create in Sunland Park and how should these economic changes be addressed by the council? Advantages: It has the benefit to the city by making it more attractive for business, increasing the tax base for the city and increasing diversity of housing. And a bigger work force.  Problems: Impact to the local infrastructure and public safety. The need for larger budgets with the City of Sunland Park, Limited funding. These economic changes need to be addressed by the council by planning for balance strategic growth being well informed on the specific issues to make knowledgeable decision The council needs to be more united and well informed to deliver the correct vote. This can be achieved by having good relationships with city staff and other professionals. (teamwork)



Donald L. McBride, 59 years old, 5790 Britain Drive.

Years at home address: 2.5 years Years in Sunland Park: 3

Employment: Plant Manager for R.R. Donnelley in Juarez. 

Education: UTEP and Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, TX. BBA and MBA degrees.


Why are your running for this office? I have been frustrated by the actions of the council, personally and collectively. The city has a great deal of untapped potential and rather than just complain about it, I want to work to make it better.


Political experience, offices held: HOA President Edgemont neighborhood, June 2014 to present. CRRUA ETZ Planning and Zoning Commissioner, July 2015 to present.


What are the most important issues facing Sunland Park in the next four years and how do you propose to use your office to face these issues? 1. Restoration of the city residents’ trust in the city government. I will work with my fellow councilors and the mayor to prioritize and then execute the outputs from the vision session held in the fall. I will apply the skills that I have acquired in business to push for getting more results from meaningful projects. 2. Economic development of the city. I will reach out to the neighboring communities to leverage combined populations to encourage more businesses to open here (grocery stores, gas stations, etc.). I will work with contacts in the economic development segment for the region to encourage their inclusion of Sunland Park in plans for the future.


Why do you feel you are a better choice for this office than your opponent? I know very little about my opponent. I do know that, since moving to Sunland Park, I have been active in community improvement (HOA) and voicing my community’s concern at council meetings. I have also served as a volunteer in CRRUA P&Z activities.


Disincorporation has been proposed by some for Sunland Park. Your feelings on this issue and its outcome if put to a vote. The residents’ desire for disincorporation stems from embarrassment and frustration with city government. The police and fire departments are extremely well run for a city this size and it would be a shame to see them disappear. If this newly elected city government does not improve significantly, I suspect disincorporation efforts will rise again.


What is most needed in Sunland Park to improve the city and life for its citizens? 1. More business to drive jobs and city revenues. 2. Collaboration with our neighboring communities to leverage greater size/influence in our efforts to improve. 3. More effective, collaborative work by the city government to deliver on projects.


What is your position on economic growth for Sunland Park and how can it best be developed? Sunland Park’s population is growing rapidly. We need to establish what kind of work is or will be available in the community and get our residents prepared for that work. 1. Use the local educational institutions to develop training for our people. 2. Work with regional economic development entities to know what jobs may be coming to guide us. 3. Work with local industry (industrial park) to promote our residents. 4. Push for a new grocery store (neighborhood Walmart) and gas stations.


How do you feel public safety issues are being addressed in Sunland Park? Are police and fire protection adequate or need to be improved? The police and fire departments do a remarkable job with the resources they are budgeted. We need to assure that they have the best tools needed for the job that can be afforded by the city budget.


In recent years new residential developments have in Sunland Park, changing the economic demographics of the community. What problems and advantages does this create in Sunland Park and how should these economic changes be addressed by the council? The communities seem to operate like two separate entities. Perhaps more community events designed to unit the city population would help. Melilla Park would likely be a very good model from which we could start.


Are there any other issues upon which you want to express your position/opinion? We have such great potential in terms of population growth, attractive tax structures compared to neighboring area, pride in the community and location (proximity to Mexico, Texas, etc.) that the limitations for improvement can only come from ourselves, principally. If we can learn how to manage growth and blend the legacy and new cultures, great improvement is possible. If we don’t learn how to live and grow together, we will only be fueling the fires of discontent that feed agenda like disincorporation.

 Copyright, Know the Net, PO Box 1765, Santa Teresa, New Mexico 88008-1765  Contact us at editor@SantaTeresaNews.Com