FULL PLATFORM – JOE ARELLANO, CANDIDATE FOR SANTA FE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2
Restructure our City’s operations and finances
- Address the recommendations of the recent audit. Many of those suggested changes are long overdue. The review even recommended a full forensic accounting audit to discover where City money may have been used fraudulently already, and where major waste is occurring.
- Reduce wasteful and hasty decision making, such as throwing together quick ideas for the revitalization of the St. Michael’s university campus rather than preparing a master plan for this invaluable 60-acre hub in the heart of our city. As a contractor, I am all too am painfully aware of the waste, for example, stucco over historic murals or paint over rotted vigas that need to be replaced.
- Complete the review of operations and departments at City Hall and restructure outdated functions. A more efficient government is a more effective government. Santa Fe must have the right services in place to support new businesses and enhance tourism, critical drivers of jobs. And key functions like economic development and affordable housing need to have higher priority on the organizational chart, and support to go with that increased authority.
Improve our local economy so we look and function like a world-class city
- Continue to make our City more tourist friendly, and make a good first impression. I’m proposing public bathrooms downtown and on Canyon Road, better signage to direct tourists to attractions, cleaning up our parks and medians, and finding a solution to avoid high parking rates.
- We need more creative solutions to address our high cost of living. More low-income housing and a higher minimum wage will just continue to create imbalances.
- That’s why I am proposing a three-tiered minimum wage structure: An apprenticeship wage for people who are getting their first job or learning a new job; the Santa Fe living wage; and a professional wage for experienced workers meet certain criteria to make a higher minimum wage.
- I’m also proposing the development of a freight train station in Santa Fe. The cost of goods in Santa Fe could be lowered by 10% if products didn’t have to be trucked to the city from Albuquerque
Increase accountability at City Hall by improving strategic planning and including community input
- Make City Council meetings more efficient, and better include community input on major issues. Working sessions in between Council meetings, and quarterly town hall meetings to include the community (see below) are two ways to improve Council meeting efficiency.
- I propose quarterly town hall meetings outside of City Hall to update the community on major developments. We have many experts in our community – more accessible forums where people can share their ideas in a structured manner could better inform City Council on major decisions.
- Major city decisions need to be accompanied by a strategic plan and accountability measures, and the Council needs to report to the public. Too many costly decisions are made without adequate follow-up on progress or outcomes.