ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque's three mayoral candidates squared off for the first time in Uptown on Wednesday.
It was the first time current Mayor R.J. Berry met face to face with his opponents, former city councilor and administrator Pete Dinelli, and former Albuquerque Police Sgt. Paul Heh.
The candidates spoke to a group of women business owners.
All three mentioned APD or crime rates in their opening statements.
"I'm running on a platform of getting control of the Albuquerque Police Department which is in a complete meltdown," said Dinelli. "We have an increase in crime and my goal is to reverse that and to return to community based policing."
Heh said he plans to fix the police department, the education system and drug and crime problems in Albuquerque.
Berry countered, saying, "We've got crime in the lowest three years in 23 years in the FBI crime rate. Together we're going to continue to move Albuquerque forward."
From that point on, the topics stuck to business with issues ranging from equal pay to job creation in a question-and-answer forum that lasted about an hour-and-a-half.
The voter approved minimum wage was one of the biggest issues.
"I think the debate comes into what is the best way to raise someone's place ... financially," Berry said. "My personal feeling is with workforce training."
According to Heh, "Minimum wage was never meant to be a living wage. Minimum wage was meant to get you introduced to the working force, to learn the ins and outs, to show up on time."
Dinelli said the real answer is that the cost associated with the minimum wage increase is going to be passed onto the consumer.
"I haven't read a single report that said it's going to destroy jobs," he added.
Albuquerque voters will start heading to the voting booths soon.
The first early voting sites will open in less than two weeks
Election day is Oct. 8.
Albuquerque police have obtained an arrest warrant for the many investigators say held up a Home Depot store last month.
A Sandoval County sheriff's deputy is in critical condition after being hit by a vehicle while he was directing traffic at an earlier snow-related crash on Interstate 25.
It's been steadily snowing in Albuquerque all morning as the majority of New Mexico feels the effects of the snow and dropping temperatures.
As the first week of December arrived, so did a storm bringing snow, ice and freezing temperatures.
Today’s top weather and news stories with Elizabeth Alvarez, Matt Mauro and meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke.
Meeting 211 goes to the University of New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos and New Mexico State renewed their rivalry on a basketball court Wednesday night with the Lobos winning 79 to 70.