2019 City Council Candidates

The Downtown Partnership sent questionnaires to all 11 City Council candidates. Their responses are below, in alphabetical order.

Jump to: Regina EnglishTony GioiaGordon KlingenschmittTerry MartinezBill MurraYAthena RoeVal SniderDennis SpikerTom StrandRandy TuckWayne Williams

 

Regina English
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I love the scenery downtown Colorado Springs. It is a very beautiful and peaceful place. I personally engage with downtown when my husband and I just want to take a walk and relax from all the hustle and bustle of the day, I also enjoy it with my kids when we want to grab a bite to eat and just hangout. My grandchildren enjoy it as well and find many things very intriguing about downtown and they love walking through the city when all the lights are visible in the evening time. The new restaurant additions, ice cream, pizza place, and Denver biscuit company have all been great family-oriented additions to visit downtown Colorado Springs. I love the fact that our city is a family-oriented city.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

When I am elected as city council woman, my priority will be to make sure that the people of the city and their needs are being put first in terms of their concerns and the changes that they would like to see that would help better our community and ensure that we will be a thriving city. My second priority would be focusing on long term solutions for homelessness and my second priority will be to ensure that we have safe, clean and maintained neighborhoods to live in city wide.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

In order to help further the efforts of a vibrant city center, I would continue to work along side the city leadership team and intentionally make sure that we are providing a family friendly space to visit, maintain beautiful infrastructures that will continue to attract tourist which will provide them with more opportunities to connect with our city, bring in investors that can add to the city retail and venue wise for locals and visitors. As we all know congestion within our city can be tough at times and I would work with the city and make sure that the city center is also pedestrian friendly, and that parking will continue to be feasible for our patrons and visitors.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

I would just continue to work with CSU because they are the experts and as long as we work together as a team and keep both sides informed that the decommissioning will be a smooth transition and most importantly not having the closure of Drake be a cost burden that would be placed on the people of the city and  by taking  the proper steps and looking at the big picture in order to make an informed decision of its closure with the  best interest of the city in mind and making sure that we do live in a clean environment will be the best way to proceed with the decommissioning of Drake.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

I would support helpCOS the initiative that has just been set in place for the homelessness project within our city as well as work with those that are focused on affordable housing  which ties into the homelessness initiative and stay informed with Greccio housing to help be more instrumental with the initiatives that will help many people that are plagued by this unfortunate situation get  back to normalcy. Every initiative geared towards these causes will take much collaboration and not so much reinventing the wheel so as we work together as a community, we will be a strong, thriving community.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

I would lead initiatives that ensure pedestrians have safer walking spaces, more bike lanes are added as this is a major means of transportation for many in this day and time as well as be very vocal when it comes to our transit system with routes and wait times.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

I would create relationships with legislatures that are on the state level of leadership and convey to them that our city needs funding in order to maintain our parks, recreation and cultural services which are all very important to the people of the city, cultivate and leverage the relationships to secure funding for our city in order to rebuild where things have fallen short. If these are all things that helps a city to thrive then there should be an initiative to fund these areas of our city.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

City wide revitalization of neighborhoods can be used, and downtown business development can be supported with healthy work environments that promote quality of life. I would propose to apply them by making sure that the city goals are aligning with developers and community investments are feasible and healthy for our city.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

As a council woman I will identify where the developments are located, collaborate with others to come up with ideas of restructuring and how we could better service the city through the developments that would give life to neighborhoods and to the city. I would actively seek funding to create this space for community to come together which is a bonus for our city as well as generate income from the investment after completion.

 

Tony Gioia
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I love the history and culture of our downtown. My own activities downtown are frequent and varied. It is a professional center where I have regular meetings, and it is a vibrant center of culture that I visit for the Pioneer Museum, concerts at the Pikes Peak Center, and street festivals and parades. Some of my favorite restaurants and shops line Tejon Ave.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

Council’s top three priorities should be tackling the issues of affordable housing, homelessness, and urban renewal. While these three issues are different, there is overlap among them. The current projects that are part of City for Champions have already brought a lot of investment into the community, and there will be more. Such renewal projects give us the opportunity to work with developers and builders to incentivize the building of more affordable housing units in the vicinity through reduced fees and potential tax breaks. Additionally, as Banning Lewis Ranch begins to be developed, the city can incentivize builders to build mixed communities that have affordable as well as market-priced housing.

Our city’s mounting homelessness problem is partially due to our shortage of affordable housing, so some of it can be solved through the steps outlined above. Some homeless residents, however, will need more help. I favor a plan to provide free housing to those who agree to seek treatment for existing mental health issues as well as drug and alcohol addictions. Those who wish to receive such benefits must work toward training and seeking jobs that will eventually lead them back to self-sufficiency.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

With the development of City for Champions projects in the city center, it will be necessary to increase the walkability of downtown to encourage visitors and patrons to make a day (or weekend) of their trips. We have some great ideas coming along, especially with the pedestrian plaza planned for Vermijo St. I believe we can expand that vision for more of downtown. It is also critical that we continue to increase Mountain Metro’s service so that visitors can easily access downtown without having to fight through congested streets and parking structures to make the trip.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

While I would like to see the decommissioning of Drake come about faster than the current timeline of 2035, we must be sure to proceed in a fashion that will protect ratepayers from sudden and significant increases to their utility bills. As it stands, it will be at least four to five years before we are at all able to move forward as our transmission infrastructure is not ready for disbursed energy generation.

As a member of the Utilities Board, it will be my responsibility to protect the ratepayers and keep rates as low as possible while balancing that responsibility against the need to innovate. All technologies eventually die. We must be forward-looking so that we are ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

See question 2.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

I am an advocate of increasing the number of bike lanes and walkable areas of the city, especially downtown, but I believe it is essential that we engage the public meaningfully on where these areas should be built out. Time and again, I’ve seen the public process that city staff conducts pay lip service to neighborhood residents’ and business commuters’ concerns, only to turn around and implement whatever plan they’d had originally. Multi-modal transit is critical to a vibrant city, but we must be mindful of our constituents’ wants and needs as we make decisions that affect everyone.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

People come to Colorado Springs for its parks and open spaces. We must pay to properly maintain them. I would support an increase to TOPS on its renewal, and as a member of the Utilities Board, I would vote in support of subsidized water for parks maintenance.

As a COPPeR Arts Advocate, I have also seen firsthand the incredible benefit that public art and culture brings to the city in terms of economic activity as well as quality of life for our residents. I believe that the arts should be supported by the city, and I will continue to be advocate for funding should I be elected.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

The Downtown Partnership and the city have worked well together in recent years to leverage tax increment financing and Urban Renewal Zones to bring great development to the city center. I look forward to seeing these projects come to fruition. As they do, it will be important that we provide financial incentives to builders who bring more residential density downtown and to small business owners who wish to locate there.

I believe it will be very important to the city that we use some of these same tools in other parts of the city, too. The southeast portion of the city is especially ripe for urban renewal, and I will be eager to work with developers who wish to bring projects that attract economic development and tourism in that direction.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

Infill projects are notoriously difficult to develop, but it is possible for the city council to incentivize such development through the relaxing of fees and taxes for those who choose to do so. Infill development saves the city money by requiring less infrastructure maintenance than greenfield development that expands the city’s responsibilities. These cost savings should be at least partially passed along to developers willing to work on such projects.

 

Gordon Klingenschmitt
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I frequently visit downtown for official business at some city and county departments, utilities, and leisure at various restaurants.  The theatre and ice-cream shops are delightful, and the Colorado Springs Symphony is a top draw.  Events at hotels are always professionally staffed, and the main thing I enjoy is meeting people from all walks of life.  Our charity distributed free coats to homeless veterans, so I also connect with Marion House, the Rescue Mission, and various houses of worship. Colorado Springs is a great place to serve others.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

I would like to support basic city government services to the public, including transportation and utilities.  I would like to find efficiencies to reduce the city taxpayers tax burden.  I would like to more efficiently support our first-responders including city police, fire, and rescue providers.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

I support private development of world-class providers of business, housing, and entertainment space.  Government should get out of the way and let business-leaders do what they do best, i.e. provide profitable services that attract those who choose to spend time and money downtown, without burdensome obstacles to economic growth.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

When more affordable and efficient sources of clean energy are clearly identified, without raising everybody’s utility rates, I would support a gradual migration to other sources.  Inefficient energy migration for political reasons that hurt taxpayers, the poor, and the economy by providing financial disincentives to businesses should be avoided or better planned.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

My charity has already engaged by providing free coats to homeless veterans.  I have supported and worked alongside Marion House and the Rescue Mission, and personally participated in the HUD sponsored “Point In Time” survey to better identify homeless needs.  But one better solution is to provide affordable housing, including free market incentives to developers who build condominiums.  As a former legislator I introduced an amendment to limit liability to builders of affordable housing and close the “construction defects” loophole. I would do so again at the city level.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

I support sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians, the handicapped, and accessible road shoulders for bicyclists nearly everywhere, even on my cul-de-sac where almost nobody travels. Bike lanes in the middle of the road should be narrowed or eliminated in high car-traffic areas, where safety concerns and congestion have become an inefficient burden to many drivers. Taxpayers are paying for better transportation on more roads, yet blocked from driving on the very roads for which they paid.  We can plan better than so many miles of blocked former car lanes with no bicycles in sight.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

One simple measure of efficiency in parks and recreation is to count the number of users.  If people do not actually use a particular area, it requires less attention, but if crowds demand more use of certain areas, they should be expanded.  It’s not more or less for me; it’s efficiency of use that meets actual demand.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

See below.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

I believe in free-market investment, lower taxation, and supporting private development.  I am not opposed to TIFs if they are transparently negotiated and do not include handouts or excessive year-lengths, and if incentive money is used for city infrastructure.  I served on the local government committee in the legislature and am familiar with many of the issues, and have worked across the aisle to resolve competing interests.  I’m pro-business, earned my MBA, and founded two successful businesses.  I also care about people, above all, and I’m committed to a life of public service.  I ask for your endorsement and support.

 

Terry Martinez
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I grew up in a house on the south end of downtown, and while I eventually moved away (the land was bought by CSU), I never stopped viewing downtown as essential to my Colorado Springs experience. I love the diversity of opportunity in the downtown area – the downtown renaissance and revitalization makes the heart of our city thrive and grow. I frequently attend events in the downtown corridor, conduct business, and bring others to experience the heart of our city.

   2. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

Affordable Living — With skyrocketing rents and home prices, we must address affordable housing now. We must prioritize incentives that lead to the construction of affordable housing. And while we need to attract businesses with good pay and benefits, we need to focus our efforts on local businesses and entrepreneurs – let’s explore the resources they need to thrive and grow.

Homelessness — Affordable living is only one component of our homeless crisis.  We must tackle other causes, including addiction, mental health, and chronic unemployment.  When making tough decisions, we must never lose sight of our compassion for persons without homes, and we must look to creative solutions.

Close Martin Drake —  We must close Drake as soon as economically feasible.  This will improve the common good as we reduce toxic pollution and greenhouse gases, and will allow us to invest in forms of energy that will provide price stability and long-term savings for Colorado Springs Utilities customers, while also providing new opportunities for developing downtown.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

Plan COS identifies Downtown Colorado Springs as one of our unique places and establishes four strategies the City should take to further develop our unique urban center. Those strategies make sense to me – but they only work if Council uses those strategies in making decisions. As a City Council member, I will place a high priority on implementing the Experience Downtown Master Plan, which includes funding downtown park enhancements and promoting multimodal transportation services. One key will be investing in a multimodal transit hub so folks who don’t live the downtown corridor can easily access all that downtown has to offer.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

We must close Martin Drake as soon as economically feasible. This will improve reduce toxic pollution and greenhouse gases. In order to accomplish this, we must continue to upgrade our transmission infrastructure, invest in alternative renewable energy production and storage, and implement a plan for retraining of employees. Beyond the health benefits of the closure, it will allow us to invest in forms of energy that will provide price stability and long-term savings for Colorado Springs Utilities customers, while also providing new opportunities for developing downtown.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

First and foremost, city leaders must act to increase the availability of housing options as soon as possible, especially for families. We must identify funding and leverage available funds by  partnering with local nonprofits and businesses to the maximum extent possible. At the same time, we must aggressively address the root causes of homelessness, including addiction, mental health services, and chronic unemployment.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

For transit, we need to increase ridership on existing bus routes and find ways to incentivize choice riders. Long-term, we must invest in a multimodal transit hub in the downtown area. For multimodal transportation options, we need to continue to upgrade our existing roadways to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. And we need to find better ways to communicate the changes before they occur.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

Our parks and open spaces are a priceless resource that we inherited from our forefathers and will leave to our children. We need to look at extending the TOPS tax and ensure that we’ve struck the right balance between maintenance costs and investments in future acquisitions. We also need to look at open spaces and parks as an economic driver – any dollar invested in our parks system should be considered an economic development investment. And for parks that are in need of some TLC, like Antlers Park in downtown Colorado Springs, we need to prioritize those investments as economic drivers.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

Our economic development tools should be focused on areas that need redevelopment, not areas that are already growing and thriving. I would prioritize areas for tax incentives and development incentives. I would also prioritize incentives for those businesses that offer livable wages.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

We need to ensure that infill benefits Colorado Springs.  This means staying true to the PlanCOS, but it also means working with the existing business community to maximize growth.  Parks and open spaces are a priority for me, and so here I obviously do not mean filling in those spaces.  Affordable living is another priority, and so I will work with community partners as well as the business community to make sure that we infill those areas lagging behind in a way that spurs economic growth without leaving behind those people who are in most need of an affordable home.

 

Bill Murray
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

Small town feel.  Walk, commute and engage with by standers and the public, on a daily basis.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?
    (dedicated downtown police walking patrol)

    • Public safety – build towards full complement (120 police additional positions)
    • Sustainability – reduce incentives for development and insure that development really pays for itself.
    • and Strategic planning – a SMART city begins with a data driven philosophy which begins with a defined data infrastructure.
  2. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

Legislate with empathy, sympathy and honesty.  Take what I have learned and use these valuable lessons to direct our processes, especially land review, towards the best interests of the entire community.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

Expand our portfolio in renewables and regional transmission opportunities.  Infrastructure improvements, additional monitoring stations and focus on the future after Drake.  Best guess 2029, with my help!

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

Voted to move general funds to accelerate low barrier shelter beds for the homeless.  Assisting the mayor in creating a position for a social worker to work directly with the homeless to improve our understanding of the environment and the people within it.  Voted for Greccio to build out commercial building for affordable housing.  Small steps but concentrating on helping Rescue Mission and Salvation Army activities and Steve Posey’s Housing and Urban Development grants for affordable housing.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

Accelerate our new bus terminal for a start! Close off Sierra Madre and Vermijo to pedestrians only.  Build regional parking garages that allow transit access to downtown.  Renovate the downtown school system and build a grocery store to service the new population relocating there.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

Focus and increase funding towards these goals. Reduce our propensity to incentivize current projects for future gain.  We need the resources as soon as they come available.  Development does not naturally pay for itself.  Within each project there are know costs to the community.  We need to structurally incorporate these costs into our development as we develop.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

We do not use our bonding to its full leveraged capabilities. Shooks Run, should be bonded through the URA, like any of our other projects. It’s the heart of the city and would provide an incredible resource for our area and help downtown’s build out. Use metrics to insure that development occurs when promised. Our URA hotel complex on Colorado Ave tied up this property for years. Only to be abandoned later. We need to push these projects to conclusion. I am seriously concerned about the disconnects in timing between infrastructure downtown and the build out of the Olympic Museum and the Norwood projects. It will keep this area in construction for the next five years. Not what you want to have for a grand opening of a significant downtown structure.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

First, better define infill. I consider it downtown while our EDC considers it Briargate north and is asking for incentives towards their development. There are only so many incentives before we have to go to the public and ask for additional taxes.

 

Athena Roe
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I have lived in the Old North End for 20 years, and love the fact that I am five minutes from downtown! Some of the best features of downtown are the wide, tree lined streets, and traditional architectural buildings, especially the older renovated buildings that preserve the feel and history of our amazing city. Over the years, I have enjoyed the programs by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and the many concerts, life programs, and ballet at the Pikes Peak Center. In my educated opinion, Colorado Springs has an amazing downtown, with the potential for even more growth and attractions. I cannot  tell you how many cups of coffee, slices of pizza, movies, performances, and meals I have enjoyed over the years, or the many shopping excursions I and my family and friends have enjoyed. I believe you can feel the heart of the city by its downtown. The views alone are stunning!

   2. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as city councilor?
Homeless populations in the downtown area. I hope to move the homeless population out of the downtown area. There are a multitude of venues to accomplish this goal. First, We need a massive national commitment—public and private—to  ensure affordable housing for all. This is a complex issue and the solutions vary widely. The biggest problem is affordable housing. The second issue is how to finance the project. I don’t believe that throwing money at issues that are not well thought out  serves the purpose. I hope to present some ideas that have worked in Portland and Boulder to deal with the homeless problem.

Jobs. Colorado Springs has high tech, some manufacturing, and construction jobs. While these three job sources need skilled workers, I believe that we also need more retail jobs and mom and pop business. One solution to attracting business is to reduce the regulatory accumulation brought on over the last seventy years. While some regulation is important, over-regulation has made us all 75% poorer than in 1950. It is hurting enterprise, by regulating business to death.

Affordable housing and not just for the homeless, but for the teachers, non-profit workers, and part time workers.

   3. Increasingly, millennials, tourists, and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

First, I would include baby boomers as relevant to the financial vibrancy of downtown, since they possess the vast amount of wealth! One of my favorite cities is Alexandria, Virginia because of their King Street Trolley. Many of the top cities in America like Georgia and Alexandria have downtown trolley systems. Indiana has a River walk, and so does, San Antonio, and even Pueblo. Colorado Springs allows for joggers, and walkers alike to stroll around, and a Trolley system would be fabulous for all. We have the Pioneer Museum which is amazing and educational. I would move toward developing a coherent downtown, with shops, galleries, eateries, coffee houses, that attract new business. One issue has become the rising costs of leasing property. Rents must be more congruent with salaries in the city. If we address the millennials, certainly cost must be factored into the equation. The loss of downtown department stores in lieu of Amazon and Internet shopping has not only hurt America, but we have lost a sense of unity as a community. The urban sprawl with all the chains has an effect on downtown. If rents were lower, then shops like Williams Sonoma, Sephora, Eddie Bauer and more could come to the downtown area. That being said, I don’t think the former is going away any time soon, so perhaps a trolley, or River Walk could entice tourists and business prospects.

   4. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and its mindful of existing and prospective businesses and rate payers.

I need to look at the winners and losers of decommissioning Drake. I was disappointed to read that someone mistook humidity or water vapor for smoke and pollution. I would work toward educating people on facts and evidence before making any decision regarding Drake. I will add, that it is important to maintain the scrubbers that was a problem in the past.

   5. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.
What I find fascinating, is that even Rwanda has programs to address homelessness, but the United States with its outrageous regulatory obsession, makes it difficult to solve problems. I hope to change this with the Home Rule, that can either oppress or help in these types of situations. I would propose modular low cost housing as opposed to half million dollar patio homes. For more information I direct you to this link.

MASS Design Group, has spear heading projects in poor countries, Boston, and more. They engage local workers, use local products like stones, masonry, etc. to build structures. I doubt that Rwanda has the regulatory drag that we have at the state, local, and national levels. Part of this has to do with the notion of the expensive “bureaucrat” that needs to go. Congress’ job is to make laws NOT law-makers. This community and our country needs to reduce its obsession with committees composed of self interests and self sustaining monopolies. According to Reason Magazine, the average American household would have an additional $250,000 more if we were not paying for a regulatory administrative state. Follow the money.

   6.  As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs.
New York City is still one of the top cities in the United States, and people mostly walk in New York, save for cabs, buses, and bikes. This leaves one to ponder, do we need to fixate on more bike paths, or accept traffic, and movement for what it is? Again, I’ll move toward making the trolley a reality. Since 2015, the idea of a trolley system has been bantered about.

I think it is time to move forward with this project.

   7. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services for the city?
I need more information before I can intelligently answer this question. If we are to have affordable housing, and fix pot holes, there must be a balance among all the interests. We as council members must agree before spending money, understanding priorities and assessing need. Anyone who runs a family or business understands, that when the kids need clothing and food, the priority is lessened for entertainment. While I am non-partisan as a Candidate at Large, I do believe in careful analysis before spending taxpayer dollars. I would represent the community at large not any special group. I will need to assess the economics of recreation as it relates to other needs in our community. On the other hand, I know communities need a healthy balance of cultural services, parks, arts, and hiking trails. significant economic impacts on local communities. According to NRPA’s Economic Impact of Local Parks report, operations spending by local park and recreation agencies generated nearly $91 billion in total economic activity during 2015. That activity boosted real gross domestic product (GDP) by $49 billion and supported more than 732,000 jobs that accounted for nearly $34 billion in salaries, wages, and benefits across the nation. Further, local park and recreation agencies also invested an estimated $23 billion on capital programs in 2015. The capital spending led to an additional $64 billion in economic activity, a contribution of $32 billion to GDP, $21 billion in labor-related income, and nearly 378,000 jobs.

   8. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?
I would engage the developers, and others toward business improvement districts to develop and fund programs that improve the streetscape and facades of businesses, increase public safety, provide services and cultural events to attract customers and otherwise help struggling neighborhoods generate local economic activity. This economic activity can expand residents’ opportunities for healthy eating and active living. Local agencies have used Community Development Block Grants, affordable housing bonds and tax credits, energy efficiency and conservation grants and other federal and state funding programs to improve public facilities, underwrite housing development and rehabilitation and reduce business operating costs, thereby attracting and retaining companies in revitalizing neighborhoods. In developing groups toward redevelopment, we may negotiate to secure specific benefits for the community, including measures that can improve public health. Examples of community benefits that can improve the economic status of residents and thereby improve health outcomes include local hiring and work-force development programs and requirements or incentives to offer living wages and other employee benefits. Community benefits can also include physical improvements that contribute to better health, such as community gardens and constructing or rehabilitating neighborhood parks and athletic facilities. I am opposed to making Colorado a replica of California. We need to put the 60% of non- mental health afflicted homeless population to work cleaning up after their “homelessness” and clearing trash, and planting public gardens in exchange for affordable housing. Just a thought.

   9. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?
Again, I will apply a “balancing of interests tests” to assess the winners and losers of info development. I would trend more toward, redevelopment to convert existing structures into another use. Ideally, redevelopment aims for better use of the property that provides an economic return to the community. For example, a vacant property may be converted to a mixed-use development that combines residential and commercial uses and revitalization to instill new life and vitality into our community through activities such as improving building façades, streetscaping to beautify an area, and/or conducting incentive-based or preservation-based economic development tools to leverage local assets. There must be a balance between private property ownership versus development. Since we hopefully are not addressing eminent domain, property owners must be paid their asking price. As a proponent of The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, it is important to protect “individual rights.” Yes, we have gaps in the downtown area, that perhaps are not being used to efficiently promote a more attractive downtown. Knowing this is the Downtown Partnership Survey, you would be most interested in utilizing existing infrastructure, investment, and economic growth rather than keep moving homes to undeveloped, greenfield areas that lack infrastructure are not designated for growth.

 

Val Snider
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I like the layout of Downtown, the closeness of the streets to the sidewalks, the variety of small business shops and places to eat.  It is attractive in the way the environment changes with the time of day.  I like how Downtown is open to community building activities like the Tuesday evening runs.

I personally engage with Downtown by being an active member of the Downtown Partnership, using Downtown as a social hub for volunteer activity meetings, and meeting friends for coffee or meals. Movies at Kimball’s are hard to beat.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

As City Councilor, I will: 1. Work to increase parks annual budget for parks maintenance and help complete the Legacy Loop; 2. Accelerate the Drake Power Plant retirement in an environmentally and fiscally smart way; 3.  Maintain the productive working environment between the Mayor and the Council.  From this environment, all else flows toward an effective, efficient, productive city government.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

I would continuously support and advocate for the completion of the City for Champions projects Downtown.    I would support a mix of land uses and infill for Downtown.  I would get behind and improve on a mix of transportation modes for Downtown in order to increase transit, pedestrian and bicycle modes.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

For starters, I would leverage my prior experience on City Council as Co-Chair for the Drake Retirement Study in 2014, comprehending some of the intricacies, and precautions involved in closing Drake and finding replacement power.  As a board member I would work to enable the CSU staff to research cutting edge technology for an environmentally safe shutdown and for finding reliable, cleaner, cost effective replacement power.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.  

While the problem and challenges of chronic homelessness are well known, the solutions are not one-dimensional.  I will engage and listen to competing ideas until we as a community fully understand what is needed and resources required.   One plan I want to explore is the Council/city working with the homebuilding community to lessen appropriate housing regulation costs that Council controls, aiding in reducing the cost of housing.  Lessening regulation could shorten development proposal approval time as well, reducing housing costs. This could help address one aspect of homelessness, that being more affordable housing. In addition, I’d work with CSU as a board member to explore reducing utility infrastructure costs for both infill development and Greenfield, lowering the cost of housing without burdening ratepayers.  These two things have the potential to lower housing costs, which could affect the homelessness issue.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

For transit help, I will work to build community support for a transit system that is not just based on access to services, but rather, creating better general connectivity that will attract “choice” riders. For multimodal options such as biking and safer walkability, I support implementing the city Bicycle Master Plan mentioned in Experience Downtown Colorado Springs. For safer walkability, I support priority pedestrian areas providing amenities that enhance the safety, comfort and enjoyment of walkers including public art, street trees and landscaping, street furniture and easily legible wayfinding for a variety of users.   A great pedestrian environment supports residential, retail, and mixed-use areas.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund.

What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?  I will utilize my annual budget experience from my term of 2011-2015 to effectively support Parks during the budget cycle.  I will get right into the funding constraints for the Parks Department, review the current programming requirement for the Parks department and “test drive” different funding options and alternatives that have to do with the city budget process.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

Development tools include support for a mix of land uses and infill for Downtown and improve on a mix of transportation modes for Downtown, such as transit, pedestrian and bicycle modes. Another tool is applying use of the Urban Renewal Authority for blighted, undeveloped areas. I would apply these tools, as I weigh in on development proposals as part of my Council land use duties. More aggressive Code enforcement is another tool in my view.

 

Dennis Spiker
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

Downtown is a beautiful area that I am happy is finally being developed better. I love this area because of the local restaurants and bars. I go to Croquettes, Rasta Pasta, and many other places to eat on a regular basis. My barber is located at a salon downtown. And I enjoy going to the bar there as well, such as cowboys, and iron bird.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

Protecting our cities development and growth is essential. We should continue to look into new ideas such as condo projects that have been started. Also, we should be ensuring that we are creating more jobs in the city. One way is to have more industries want to move to our lower cost area. A big focus of mine will be on our recreation areas. If we create more events in our underused parks, we can bring business and awareness to the area. America the beautiful and acacia park are both parks that we should host more evens and should increase the water playing areas in both parks.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

I would focus on the diversity in this area. The whole downtown area will benefit by the growth in the area. I would like the city to offer grants for small business owners to start, growth, and update their businesses in downtown. I would also like to see another parking garage on the northern end of downtown so that there is more access to the area.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

2020 would be my goal to close Drake. It should have been closed years ago, and our leaders have dropped the ball on this. This plant is not just an eye sore downtown but it is poisoning the people of the city. Last year our leaders again failed us by not telling us that a plant that is in a in the downtown area and next to a neighborhood had a malfunction and didn’t have a properly working filter system. We should have an ethics community that is also elected by the residents of the city to determine if issues like this should have been alerted to the whole city as well as many other issues. We could put solar panels on every city owned building and also offer grants or discounts to any property owner who does the same.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

I would like to see Marian House move their hard-working charity to the area that springs rescue mission has developed. With the movement there will create a better coalition to solve this problem. We also need more long-term housing for homeless that are participating in a program so that they can focus on staying off the streets.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

I would like to see if the downtown businesses re-discuss the idea of closing a portion Tejon creating an area similar to the 16th street mall in Denver. I also want to lead the discussion about our parks starting to decay. We need these areas to be better developed and maintained. Examples of this are Acacia Park and America the beautiful park. We must enforce laws that protect these parks and grow of the development that we have forgotten about. We should build more playgrounds and fun areas that families can enjoy.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

I want to see Recreational Marijuana be placed on the ballot. We would only allow dispensaries to bid for a license to open recreational locations. We can use this untapped tax more to fund projects like fixing our parks. Also, by hosting more sports leagues and tournaments we can open congestion stands to help fund these parks.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

I will continue to fight for local business not just these outside companies to benefit from tax breaks that the city offers. Individual business typically pay / treat their employees better and provide more local support. We should be focusing on an creating an economic devolvement that stabilizes our community. I will work to bring companies here that diversify our city, and don’t just benefit multimillion/billion-dollar companies.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

I will support infill development that doesn’t cost the city to raise taxes, by bringing it into the city limits (if not already).  These unused parcels of land are a better solution then tearing up as many open spaces. We must protect the aspect of the city that we love such as our open spaces. I would like to see areas that are being neglected updated, such as citadel mall. We have many empty areas in our city that should be reused before developing new area.

 

Tom Strand
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I live on the East side of Old Colorado City about .7 of a mile from Downtown Colorado Springs. I love living close to and walking or biking to the downtown entertainment, restaurants and shopping areas in both Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City.  It’s been exciting this past decade to watch all the storefronts filled with different and vibrant entrepreneurs and a variety of restaurants.  I personally engage with the downtown store owners on a weekly basis.  Recently the Council President and I met with four downtown business owners and employees to determine what we could do to increase Colorado Springs police officer presence to improve safety for both employee and customer security and sense of well-being.  I was the sponsor in 2016 of the Pedestrian Safety Act and worked to increase overtime funding for “beat cops” presence during the year end shopping seasons during 2015-2018.

   2. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

During my 2015 At Large City Council campaign my top three priorities were:

  • Improve and fix our City infrastructure, roads, bridges, public buildings.
  • Create and foster a collaborative relationship with the Executive Branch of City Government.
  • Incentivize and enable strong business development that provides well paying jobs for all of our citizens.

These have not changed and need further tending and resource commitment.  However, I am also very interested in:

  • Public Safety Improvement – adding more police officers (120) and a dedicated full-time firefighting Hazmat Team.
  • Solutions for our homeless population targeted toward families and those that want help.
  • Attention to future wildfire threats with more/better training and increased mitigation of fuel sources.
  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

Following a two-year City Government effort, I supported and voted for Plan COS, which was incorporated in an Ordinance in December 2018.  As the Council Liaison to both the LART Committee and the Pikes Peak Arts Commission, I have focused City efforts to stimulate and create a vibrant, diverse and well-connected urban community.  The results are clear and even dramatic.  Colorado Springs has been determined by various authorities and media sources as one of the best cities in the country to live, work and recreate.  We are a location that millennials, military veterans, senior citizens and businesses want to come and grow with us.  By working closely with the Downtown Partnership, Visitor’s Center, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Center, I have and will continue, if reelected, to make our 200 square mile city stronger, safer and more attractive.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

During the past four years, I have served as the Vice Chair and now Chairman of the Colorado Springs Utilities. In 2016 I supported “a line in the sand” Board decision to close the 3-unit coal and natural gas Drake Power Plant not later than 2035.  That was the best we could agree upon at that point.  We have closed Unit 5 in 2017 and plan to close Unit 6 by the end of 2019.  I would be in favor of an earlier total closure of Drake when we are ensured that we have necessary generation and transmission of power throughout our downtown and surrounding areas without a substantial increase in rates. We (CSU) are all about keeping rates the lowest possible while maintaining reliability of all utilities and taking good care of our ratepayer owners.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

To reduce chronic homelessness, we (the Mayor and City Council) have fashioned a Homeless Population Solution Plan that is multifaceted, and includes:  housing (a roof over their heads), both temporary like the Salvation Army and the Springs Rescue Mission, and permanent dwellings supported by non-profits, financial organizations and local builders and developers; jobs and job training opportunities available with the El Paso County Workforce Center; mental health referrals and care supported by non-profit and faith-based institutions and substance abuse counselling and rehabilitation.  The Mt Carmel Center is available to help all veterans and family members with all of these aspects that impact this chronic homeless population.

I am currently working with the Mayor’s Work/Study Team to look at all avenues of reducing the cost of building single family, duplex and multi-family units to provide more affordable housing.  The issues and factors we are examining include:  utilities connection costs and fees for water, wastewater, electric and natural gas; inspection fees from the Regional Building Department; sales and use tax discount for building materials and supplies, and zoning and investment incentives for builders and developers.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

As a current City Council Member, I have worked on City Ordinances and Resolutions to expand and support City transit and multimodal choice for pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle users. I worked on the Mayoral Committee to locate and initiate transfer of the downtown Transit Center on Nevada to a new location on Sierra Madre.  I have attended meetings to increase bus routes throughout the City and decrease waiting times with more bus frequency.  I have attended multiple presentations at Colorado College during the past four years aimed at programs to provide more options for bikers and pedestrians.  I have supported the Pike Rental Bikes Program and appropriately located and marked new bike lanes as well as the use of red-light cameras to ensure safer use of our roadways.

   7. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

Since the economic recession of 2008-2010 our Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services have suffered with a reduction in City General Fund monies, and just recently, during my term in office, are approaching funding levels of a decade ago. As the Treasurer of TOSC in 2012, I am acutely aware of the need for sustained and even increased TOPS funding for trails, open spaces and parks.  As a member of the City Council Finance Committee, I have and will continue, if reelected, to defend and support increased funding for parks, trails, arts and cultural services by using LART funding generated from sales tax, and looking for economic and efficiencies from other city services and departments.  I will carefully study an increase in sales or property taxes that is specified for our parks and outdoor facilities as well as arts and cultural programs.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

TIFs (Tax Incentive Financing), BIDs, SIPs and MIDs and URAs (all a series of alphabet soup acronyms) designed to stimulate and incentivize business, housing, industrial and retail development.  These are the primary tools available and intended to underpin development and growth.  I am aware and have used these tools during my four years on City Council.  They all have uses and applications based on location, downtown or uptown.  They can be better leveraged with mandatory analysis of the City’s Master Plans and adherence to long term and sustainable public input and attention.   These tools should always be considered, studied and applied in a balanced and deliverable format that improves quality of life for all our citizens and provides seed dollars for business growth.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

As an incumbent City Councilor and Utilities Board Director, I have worked on multiple projects such as the new Marriott Hotel, the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, downtown apartments and the relocation of the Central City Bus Terminal. Every month during my 46 months on Council I look to City Master Planning documents and now, Plan COS, to find better and more opportunities to look at vacant and underutilized properties in our downtown and near downtown areas where we can improve density, and optimize the urban infill promise for better land use and improve the quality of life for all our citizens.

 

Randy Tuck
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I like downtown Colorado Springs because even if you’re not from Colorado Springs you can see and feel the history that our city displays. I also have a fondness because I have a physical attachment to downtown as well by helping build and manage 3 of the high-rise buildings that make up our city’s skyline, throughout my construction career. Finally, I am in the downtown area most every day. I live and breathe in Colorado Springs. Always something to do, get coffee, take in a movie, get a brew from the pub, or eat great food. Always something entertaining to do.

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

Support and economically vibrant community, expand small businesses to help increase tourism, enhance community safety by strengthening the fire and police departments.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

We need an aggressive agenda for the rebuilding of the south downtown area. In order for that to happen we need to define our goals for that agenda and make certain we can realistically achieve what we are proposing. Finally, all of the progression with regards new projects can only happen if we can meet the new financial needs while making certain to meet the existing. We must approve recreational cannabis for our city, make every revenue dollar count.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

City council will need to value engineer the entire process from the funds that it will take to make it happen, to the utility buildout that will need to be in place to transfer the new utility supply to replace the loss of Drake.

Then put together a “realistic schedule” whereby we can decommission Drake and not have utility costs increased dramatically while working to achieve all the transfer and new supply.   Then because there most likely be increased utility costs due to taking Drake off line, the council will need to get creative in their thinking to find ways to help keep additional costs coming from the decommission process reasonable and make certain that utility bills don’t skyrocket for Colorado Springs citizens. Finally, there will need to be a plan is place for testing the new supply coming In and a plan for any unforeseen problems that might occur.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

Identify how large the homeless problem is. Determine the make up of the homeless population. Make certain all have identification which will help with determining if they have other issues that need to be addressed. Put in place a team of issue solving oriented individuals that can put together a plan that will, bring them in from the cold, give the necessary and basic items to help them eat, sleep and work toward pulling themselves up from their current situation, as well as help them to realize they can sustain a productive lifestyle by just keeping a positive attitude while using the tools/skill they may have to keep them moving onward/upward.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

I believe that the transit system we have in place could be modified by using either the same model or one like the L.A County MTA. 1) 1. Break long routes into shorter pieces. (Reliability) 2) Get rid of cash payments in favor of collaboration with convenience stores that sell chip cards that can be loaded via cash or credit cards. There would still be farecard readers on the buses.  3)Eliminate about 25% of bus stops, especially in areas where stops are located in each block Finally, biking, and safer walkability are going to be challenges due to the way they are engineered for each different area. Also having parking in the middle of the street brings about confusion and safety issues that can be fatal if not engineered properly.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

This is a no brainer, we must get recreational cannabis approved for Colorado Springs. I have a copy of the study that was done by the U of Denver degreed individual and the numbers of revenue’s being lost due to not legalization of recreational are astounding. It does not make any good sense to ignore revenue’s that are currently going to Manitou, Denver, Pueblo.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

First reach out to bring in new business ventures, prioritize development areas, determine what types of business models would be able to succeed in the various areas, we need to support entrepreneurships, help enhance existing business growth in the city and downtown, find out from our existing business community what can we do to help them grow their business’s. Finally, we need to have a clear vision for the future of the downtown areas and citywide as well and then put in place an action plan to implement our vision.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

I would first look at the areas already being purposed as infill developed lots/areas throughout the south downtown areas. Then prioritize the areas that are in the infill zones and determine cost to develop and plan accordingly going forward. There seems to be various areas in south Colorado Springs already to be developed or re-developed. If they are to that stage in re-development, then they may have followed this model?

 

Wayne Williams
  1. What do you like about Downtown Colorado Springs, and in what ways do you personally engage with Downtown?

I have worked in Downtown Colorado Springs for most of my 27 years here.  My
first law office was in the Wells Fargo Building (then the Norwest Building) and when I went on my own my first business lease was signed at 6 South Tejon.  I continue to conduct business, attend meetings, eat great food, and shop in Downtown.  As a county commissioner and clerk and recorder, I ensured that government services (such as a motor vehicle office) remained downtown.  (My wife Holly also has her office downtown.)

One of the things I like about downtown has been that it’s easy to get to, and I’ve worked to improve that.  The Pikes Peak RTA we created expanded both the Bijou and Cimarron entrances to Downtown.   I also worked to environmentally clear the expansion of I25 and obtained funding for COSMIX, the expansion to 6 lanes from Academy to Monument, and the construction of the Cimarron interchange.  The clearance we obtained permitted a total of 8 lanes in the central city and its time to begin working for that.  (A congested I25 impacts our quality of life in many other ways—idling cars, e.g., cause significantly greater pollution.)

  1. If elected, what will be your top three priorities as a City Councilor?

I will promote our city’s economic vitality, which includes both jobs and housing.  I will work to reduce regulations that impair affordable housing and seek to have the City’s Housing Authority resume a more active role.

I also will work to address the city’s infrastructure needs, particularly in utilities (covered in another question) and transportation.  As a Commissioner I worked with a broad spectrum of community leaders to place the Pikes Peak RTA before the voters.  It was approved by 55% in 2004 and I then worked to ensure we fulfilled our promises.  The PPRTA was renewed seven years ago in 2012 with 79.5% of the vote.  The PPRTA provides road maintenance, capital construction, and dedicated bus funding.  I support a second renewal for capital construction to address our communities needs and I will work to accomplish this.

I will also ensure services for a growing city, including utilities, parks, police, and fire protection.  I support the mayor’s desire to add the additional fire and police positions.

  1. Increasingly, millennials, tourists and new business prospects seek a vibrant, diverse and connected urban environment. How would you help further efforts to achieve a vibrant city center?

We need to ensure that Downtown is easy to reach (see no. 1 above).  (I’ve been frustrated on several occasions by parking meters that won’t take my credit card.  I will work to fix this.)

We need to ensure that people feel safe in Downtown.  Enforcing rules and regulations and implementing the 2019 Homelessness Initiative is a key part of this.  For example, Objective 2 calls for two additional police officers on foot patrol downtown and increasing the Department’s Homeless Outreach Team from four to six officers.

The City should support a variety of businesses and residential buildings in the downtown area and ensure that city regulations support this.

  1. As a board member of Colorado Springs Utilities, how would you work toward decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant in a manner that fosters a clean environment and is mindful of existing and prospective businesses and ratepayers?

Ensuring safe, reliable, and inexpensive electricity, gas, water, and wastewater is critical for our community’s well-being. I will work to close Drake in a cost-effective manner.  We should begin now to build the necessary generation and transmission infrastructure to replace Drake.  I believe this can be accomplished by the mid-2020s at which point we should cease maintenance and improvements at Drake.

  1. Identify specific initiatives you would lead or support to reduce chronic homelessness and expand options for affordable housing in the community.

I spent a decade on the Colorado Springs Housing Authority, working with Dick Sullivan to add affordable housing to our community.  (While Dick was Executive Director, we added 5,400 homes.)  We did this in a variety of ways, including both public-private and public-public partnerships.  (We also revitalized the Lowell Neighborhood through the restoration of Lowell School while I was Chair.)  I want to revitalize the Housing Authority’s efforts and also seek to reduce regulations that limit private construction of affordable housing.

I support our community’s addition of sufficient low barrier shelter beds and removing other barriers to housing.  For those who are homeless, we need to provide appropriate protections for their safety and the safety of our community and our water.  I support implementing the City’s 2019 Homelessness Initiative.

  1. As a City Councilor, what initiatives would you lead to improve the effectiveness of transit, safe multimodal options such as biking, and safer walkability in Colorado Springs?

I worked with many partners to establish the Pikes Peak RTA which provides more than $10 million a year to support Mountain Metro Transit.  When we placed the RTA in front of voters, the City assured voters it would maintain its $5.7 million annual funding.  The City should fulfil that promise each year.

I served on the Steering Committee of the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority for a number of years.  If passenger rail service is created at some point, we need to work to ensure that both Downtown and our airport are accessible.

We need to work to connect our bike network to provide a safe way for riders.

For those who are homeless, we need to provide appropriate protections for their safety and the safety of our community and our water.  We need to implement the City’s 2019 Homelessness Initiative.

  1. Funding for Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has lagged significantly within the General Fund. What will you do to support better funding for parks, trails and arts and cultural services in the city?

As an El Paso County Commissioner I worked to add more than a thousand acres of park land and open space.  There are times when government can work with a private nonprofit or other government to provide better services.  For example, we worked to have El Pomar’s World Arena take over the management of the Pikes Peak Center and they made a number of significant improvements.

I support placing a TOPS renewal on the ballot.  With the purchase of many of the key open space areas, it’s appropriate to look at altering the language to permit more to be spent on maintaining and improving the existing parks and open space.  For example, it took the City some two decades to actually open Venezia Park.

The City also should support nonprofits in these areas.  As Secretary of State I made it easier for nonprofits to conduct business and provided free training for their boards of directors.

  1. What economic development tools could be better leveraged to support business development, both citywide and Downtown? How would you propose to apply them?

When I moved to Colorado Springs, Lowell School was a derelict building filled with bat guano.  The surrounding area was a blight.  As a Housing Authority Board Member I worked to change this—we restored Lowell School, helping to kickstart the revitalization of the entire Lowell Neighborhood.

The City should ensure its Office of Economic Development has the tools and resources necessary.  We should work with a variety of partners to revitalize areas and address needed transportation and other improvements.  This means being willing to look at a number of public and public-private partnerships in appropriate circumstances, such as urban renewal, tax increment financing, and the like.

We also need to keep taxes low and ensure that city permitting and regulatory processes are efficient.

  1. As a City Councilor, what will you do to prioritize and support infill development in Colorado Springs?

The City should work to make land use requirements flexible and fit the varying needs of our community.  I’ve been involved in a number of infill projects, from restoring Lowell School, to constructing public housing, to expanding our County Courthouse downtown.  I know firsthand the challenges involved in making these projects succeed and will work to ensure the City is supportive and responsive.