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Where I Stand On The Issues

Let's #LookForwardBoulder

Leadership: Let’s Be Bold Again

 

Boulder has led the way in the past with our Open Space program, our recycling program, pedestrian and cycling access, the downtown mall, and more. But we seem to have lost our role in leading the way on these and other issues. We need to be bolder in our thinking and
actions again.

I am bold on:

  • Creative ways of moving people, other than in cars.

  • Reaching or exceeding our carbon reduction commitments—in the most cost-effective way.

  • Housing people that work in Boulder and being open to non-traditional housing options.

Open Space:
Under Maintained—Not Overused

We have a deferred maintenance backlog of millions of dollars and it is growing. Many parts of the system are still waiting for flood repairs—now six years out. The department is understaffed in people that know how to construct a trail for sustainability. Habitat for wildlife and environmental values will all be improved by better maintenance of our trail system.

We must shift away from acquisition and change focus to maintenance and infrastructure. Any new acquisitions must be part of a plan to connect parcels that are currently unconnected and do not allow visitor access or aren’t large enough to accommodate access in their
own right.

The department must take a leadership role in working with other agencies (County, Forest Service, State, etc.) to cooperate on joint trail construction of longer trails that serve a diversity of users.  Longer trails leading out of the central area will help relieve the current user pressures. We must work diligently to construct trails that take people where they want to go.

When I visit our Open Space lands, this is what I hope for:

  • Trails that are well maintained, lead to desirable areas, and are fun and challenging.

  • Welcoming signage that greets and educates.

  • A community culture that makes getting along and sharing the trails an expectation.

  • Trails that connect to other trails, that connect to other trails…

Transportation: Ride If You Can—Drive If You Must. And Hey, Let’s All Just Get Along

 

Serving on the Transportation advisory board has been a real education into the engineering details that make up our transportation system. It has also reinforced the obvious: we all seem to want to complain about traffic and anyone using a different mode than ours. Boulder has its share of rush hour traffic jams that can frustrate even the most patient amongst us. Those who need to drive their cars should do so, but those who want to reduce traffic congestion by walking, cycling, or taking the bus should be seen as helpful, rather than scorned. Traffic would be far worse if not for our walking, cycling, and bussing citizens. While using these modes they deserve above all else to

be safe.

Our 2019 Transportation Master Plan has ambitious goals that I support. The stated goals are:

  • Be SAFE

  • Be EQUITABLE

  • Be RELIABLE 

  • Provide CHOICES

  • Support clean air and our CLIMATE COMMITMENT

 

While these broad goals are laudable, they will require real political will and leadership to implement.  This type of effort, from me and my fellow board members and staff, turned the North Broadway reconstruction project from a pavement replacement program into what will be a showcase of cycling and pedestrian safety and comfort. This will be an example of how we should build our streets in the future.

From the TMP, three areas are of particular interest to me: Implementation of Vision Zero, finishing and connecting the city to our Low Stress Walk and Bike Network, making transit a real choice for everyone.

RTD has proven to be a reluctant partner in solving our daily transportation problems of in/out commuting. A partnership between the city and major employers should be explored to create new commuting routes and bus systems separate from RTD. Businesses need to contribute.

I will work for:

  • EcoPasses for all of Boulder.

  • A transit system that is responsive to our needs vs. the RTD agenda.

  • A convenient and frequent system that accommodates in/out commuters to major employment centers.

  • Creative first/last mile solutions that tie our transit systems to our end destinations. 

  • Working with businesses on all of the above.

The Arts: Not A Luxury, A Necessity

 

There is no such thing as a great city that does not have a great art scene. People will proclaim that support of the arts is not a proper role for government. I believe the opposite. Great visual arts, music, and theater are essential to a thriving city. Of course there are budget constraints that mean not all projects will be funded, nor should they. But
we can continue supporting the arts so that we can continue to see, hear, and experience the world through the eyes
of others.

I want Boulder to be an arts leader with:

  • Bold public art that excites and generates interest and conversation. This of course will lead to some controversy. Great art always does.

  • Support of traditional and experimental art projects that reflect a diversity of Boulder views.

  • Continued support of the NOBO arts district by supporting the new design of North Broadway making it more walkable and more enjoyable for all modes.

Housing Affordability: Do All That We Can

 

In Boulder, we are the victims of our own success. Our open spaces, exciting culture, artistic residents, and economic opportunities make Boulder deeply desirable. This draws people here. If you think back, this is what drew most of us here—probably you. So we can all agree that Boulder will never accommodate all those that want to live here. We can also agree that market forces are far more powerful than all of our combined efforts to increase affordability. So while the problem is large, it does not give us the excuse to do nothing.

I support:

  • A regional housing plan that shares the burden and benefit with our neighboring communities and includes both public and private developers.

  • The work of Boulder Housing Partners (City of Boulder Housing Authority) to increase the number of permanently affordable units in the city.

  • Gentle in-fill in that allows for greater flexibility by homeowners to build small accessory units, alley houses, mother-in-law apartments, etc.—that may allow folks to stay in their homes longer and
    more affordably.

  • Increased density in areas along transit corridors and in mixed commercial districts.

  • Adjustments to our parking requirements. Currently we accommodate cars, seemingly endlessly, while not accommodating people who choose to leave their cars and use public and non-automotive transportation. 

  • A vision of new development that is people and community centric—that shows the world that you can have beauty and affordability in homes that helps us achieve our climate goals.

Homelessness:
Compassionate Guidance To Services Plus

 

Our challenges with homelessness are not unique, we are not alone in this struggle. Cities all over the country are struggling with homelessness. I support our “Coordinated Entry” system. Like other cities, we have adopted a system that performs a triage evaluation and guides people to the most effective services that help them become housed and get off the streets. This system also helps separate the homeless population from seasonal and transient campers that have little connection to our community and are not interested in our long-term solutions.  

On the surface, some solutions may seem like we are encouraging more transients to come to Boulder, but in actuality these solutions could be the most cost-effective and compassionate way of handling these issues. Almost anything is more cost-effective than turning our county jail into a homeless shelter and treatment center for the mentally ill.

Finally, we must acknowledge that we live in a country governed by a constitution that offers freedom of movement and freedom of speech. It is futile and counterproductive to advocate for policies that violate these basic principles. 

I support:

  • Improved street outreach and day sheltering. These types of solutions are far more cost effective than jailing or hospitalizing those in need.

  • Increased ranger and maintenance staff presence on OSMP properties to decrease illegal camping, fires and water contamination.

  • Increased support for our current partners, (Boulder Shelter, Bridge House, and others) and their work to get people off the street and back into a constructive and self-sufficient life. 

  • Adding “port-a-potties” and trash receptacles at strategic locations. We need to address waste disposal directly. Wishing it would go away won’t help.  

The Muni: Let’s Keep Our Eye
On The Prize—Carbon Reduction

 

On July 24, 2019, the city correctly declared a climate emergency.  Emergencies demand action, action set by clear goals. At the beginning, our efforts to municipalize our electric utility revolved around reducing our greenhouse gasses (GHG), the human based, root cause of our changing climate. But changes in the utility landscape combined with the city’s long and difficult path forward to separate and take over Xcel’s assets mean we must reevaluate what is our best direction and course of action. 

We must ask ourselves: Is our goal a muni or GHG reductions? At the moment we are getting neither. For me the answer is clear; we need GHG reductions—now. The current path forward involves continued PUC and court battles with Xcel and one more vote of the citizens. As a council we should be prepared to act earlier and show that there are choices beyond a binary muni/no muni. Those choices should include:

  • City owned means of carbon free production. Take a
    look at this project (Jack's Solar Gardens) that will be
    built in Boulder County with the support of our
    county commissioners. 

  • Improvements to our transportation system including EcoPasses for all or the city taking over additional
    transit routes.

  • Carbon sequestration on City Open Space properties.

  • Direct subsidies for rooftop solar and e-bikes—especially for low and moderate income households.

There are many places to take action now, places where we can responsibly and cost effectively maximize our
carbon reduction.

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