Meet the candidates: Palmero calls for more after-school programs
A longtime Rockwood volunteer and social worker is vying for a return to his seat for city leadership.
Mario Palmero is running for reelection to Gresham Council Position 4 against challenger Jerry Hinton in the upcoming November general election. He was first elected in 2014.
Palmero is a long-time Gresham resident and is raising two children, a daughter who graduated from Centennial High School and a son who is attending Hollydale Elementary. He is an active supporter of nonprofit organizations, including work at AARP as a no-cost tax preparer, SMART as a reading volunteer, and with Habitat for Humanity.
The Outlook reached out to all of the candidates running in the November general election, and more Q&As will be shared in the coming weeks. Here are Palmero's responses, edited for space:
Outlook: Why are you running for Gresham City Council?
Palmero: "After going through the (pandemic) and dealing with all the negative consequences, we now have reached the point where we can rebuild our community in a way where we have a higher awareness and understanding of equity, diversity, acceptance and tolerance. With my experience on City Council I had (the) opportunity to engage and interact with people from many different walks of life, and socioeconomic backgrounds, which allowed me to see and understand what our community needs and wants from our city."
O: What solutions do you have for public safety?
P: "Both Council President Morales and myself have expressed the need for alternative ways to fund and support more police officers. We need to be more efficient in our data-gathering processes in order to make informed decisions based on facts opposed to opinion. But let's be clear — we have some of the best police officers in the state working here in Gresham. We have always and will continue to support and fund our police department — we do not cut and we have not cut any funding from our police force.
O: How concerned are you with historic levels of crime?
P: "Safety has always been a centerpiece of my work at City Hall. The growing gun violence is a very important issue — we are losing too many of our young people to either prison or death."
O: How would you bolster after-school programs?
P: "(I've had) conversations with council regarding the lack of after-school programs — (those in place) lack adequate equipment and facilities. We are now paying the price for that. We need to continue to grow, support and invest in our children. These investments are tough, but we owe it to our children, our community and our neighbors."
O: Do you have ideas for parks and recreation funding?
P: "I think there are many different avenues we can take, like for example a (parks district) or more direct funding from taxing recreational marijuana as well as money from lottery funds. We may have to ask for an additional levy, but that is a (conversation) for the community. I do want to make one clarification — I will fight and speak up against any organization or government agency that collects taxes from our citizens to be used to fund programs outside of East County."
O: What other issues are important to you?
P: "The lack of affordable housing and access to mental health services are issues that are very concerning to me."
O: What sets you apart from the other candidate?
P: "What sets me apart is my years on City Council and my work in the community as a volunteer and social worker has given me a unique and diverse set of skills that are important to moving our city forward."
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