2023 Mayoral Candidates

The Downtown Partnership and UCCS’ Center for the Study of Government and the Individual sent questionnaires to all 12 Mayoral candidates. Their unedited responses are below, in alphabetical order.

Jump to: sallie clarkANDREW DALBYDARRYL GLENNLONGINOS GONZALEZ, JRLAWRENCE MARTINEZJIM MILLERCHRISTOPHER MITCHELLYEMI MOBOLADEKALLAN REECE RODEBAUGHTOM STRAND, JOHN TIG TIEGENWAYNE WILLIAMS

 

Sallie Clark
  1. Why is a thriving Downtown important for the economic future of our entire city?
    I am the only mayoral candidate with executive director experience and management skills at the state and national levels of government as well as a former councilmember and county commissioner. I am a successful small-business owner for 37 years and a military wife married for 42 years. I know the difficulties of running a small-business, making payroll, managing employees, paying taxes, and responding to unfunded government mandates. Our downtown is the central heart of our city, with activities that attract arts, culture, museums, restaurants and retail and drives economic development throughout the region.
  2. What role(s) are appropriate for the City to play in addressing our housing shortage, and what tools/methods do you support to increase the stock of affordable and attainable housing?
    First, we must assure that water and utility needs are met for the future. I will convene a Mayor’s water planning task force within my first 90 days to partner with stakeholders from the city, county, water providers, and citizens. I will convene community-wide discussions including the Colorado Springs and El Paso County Housing Authority’s and the Affordable Housing Initiative coalition in discussions for a variety of housing options. Partnerships with nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity will be a major key to laying out a plan. The city must also focus on primary high wage jobs that provide job stability and allow for homebuyer opportunities so families can experience the American dream of owning their own home.
  3. Would you support efforts to increase City Council pay to a reasonable living wage in order to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to serve?
    This is something that should be discussed in a Charter Review process and I would support consideration of increased pay for City Council based on the demands for the job.
  4. As the Drake Power Plant is decommissioned, what factors are important for consideration of future use of the site (assuming environmental conditions are compatible)? Why is this site important?
    There are many factors regarding the re-use of the land on which the current Drake Power Plant resides: environmental, location and appropriate redevelopment along Fountain Creek. With its proximity to Fountain Creek, there are many possibilities to envision public and private use that would create an amenity for the downtown area and close-by neighborhoods such as Mill Street, the historic Westside, Ivywild and SoDo, among others.
  5. If elected, what is your commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community?
    I have always and will always create inclusiveness, as a small-business owner, as a local, state and national level government leader and as a military wife. Our city, Colorado Springs, is a magnificent place and my focus will be to address issues such as public safety and crime, homelessness, and housing affordability. I am a strong supporter of city partnerships on economic development within the core of our city and throughout the region to make sure our city is known as one of the best places to raise a family.
  6. Since 1980, the City of Colorado Springs has charged a 2% tax at hotels for nightly stays and a 1% tax on car rentals. The current hotel and rental taxes (LART) combined raise about $10 million annually in revenue for the City. There has been discussion recently about increasing the lodging tax from 2% to 4% and the rental car tax from 1% to 2%. Would you support such a move, and/or support placing the issue on a ballot for voters to consider?
    An increase in taxes should always be a last resort. I am not in favor of increasing the LART tax at this time with concerns of pricing us out of the market on lodging and auto rental taxes when combined with general city sales, roads, county sales, public safety, and TOPS.
Andrew Dalby
  1. Why is a thriving Downtown important for the economic future of our entire city?
    Because we don’t want to be Detroit? A hollowed out core is the sign of a city on the verge of collapse.
  2. What role(s) are appropriate for the City to play in addressing our housing shortage, and what tools/methods do you support to increase the stock of affordable and attainable housing?
    One of the big reasons I decided to run for Mayor is an experience I had trying to work with the city. I have an RV storage facility, and I am full. I wanted to expand, so I put a contract on another parcel of land. In order to comply with all the nonsensical and arbitrary requirements PPRBD and City Council wanted to impose would have doubled the costs and halved my income. House prices are three times what they should be for this very reason. The City Council is not composed of divinely inspired Solomons, they are just ordinary people who impose costs on us all with their hubris.
  3. Would you support efforts to increase City Council pay to a reasonable living wage in order to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to serve?
    No. I would support reducing the number of hours worked by city council to reflect the value they bring to the table by getting them out of quasi-judicial land use questions. That would bring their hourly wage up to a reasonable rate. I would also like to see them reschedule their meetings to the evenings so that citizens that work for a living could participate both as members and as private citizens.
  4. As the Drake Power Plant is decommissioned, what factors are important for consideration of future use of the site (assuming environmental conditions are compatible)? Why is this site important?
    Drake should never have been decommissioned, because the rationale was a lie. If the city were sincere in their commitment to green energy, we would build a nuclear power plant on the site. That won’t happen because the real reason the plant was decommissioned is to “sell” it to the biggest developer in town for pennies on the dollar, so he can make another $100M. Unlike the career politicians in the race, I am a native, but I have lived in Denver. I don’t suffer from Denver envy. Colorado Springs is not Denver, and that’s OK. If they want to live in Denver, they should move there. It would be great if we could build our own confluence park, but we’d need to find a river to import.
  5. If elected, what is your commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community?
    I believe that every person is of infinite value and is made in the image of the Almighty God. I will not stand for anyone who treats another as lesser because of their physical characteristics or financial status. I grew up on welfare and while we never went hungry, what we ate was often dependent on what people had donated to the food pantry that week. I have people close to me who have been arrested for crimes they could not possibly have committed and have seen first hand that too often no one cares. I know we have a two tier system because I have been on both ends of it and I am filled with righteous fury at those who seek to manipulate it to stay in power or profit off the powerless. If you have been discriminated against, you will not find a greater ally. It is critical that the city reach out to historically disadvantaged groups to ensure they have every opportunity they deserve. However, because I believe in MLK’s dream, I am an implacable foe to the idea that all white people are inherently racist or that Jack Phillips needs to be destroyed because he chooses not to be included in certain lifestyles.
  6. Since 1980, the City of Colorado Springs has charged a 2% tax at hotels for nightly stays and a 1% tax on car rentals. The current hotel and rental taxes (LART) combined raise about $10 million annually in revenue for the City. There has been discussion recently about increasing the lodging tax from 2% to 4% and the rental car tax from 1% to 2%. Would you support such a move, and/or support placing the issue on a ballot for voters to consider?
    The rationale for increasing the LART is to spend the money on advertising. While I appreciate that tourism is an important industry and that advertising is necessary for business growth, I am unconvinced that government should be in the business of advertising for chosen industries or enforcing it on unwilling advertisers. I think the hospitality industry should work together to voluntarily advertise their wares.

 

ANDREW DALBY UCCS SURVEY RESPONSES

  1. The City Council recently passed an ordinance that would put limitations on future annexations of land for development based on Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) capacity to supply water. One of the critical points of this ordinance is setting CSU’s ability to deliver 130% of current demand as a prerequisite for future annexations.
    a. Do you believe 130% is an appropriate threshold to set?
    Water is life. We live in a high desert, and water is the single most important long-term issue facing our community. It is the limiting factor for growth and has the potential to be the source of intense conflict. This is an immensely important topic. However, the 130% (now 128%) ordinance was not decided in anything resembling a manner appropriate to the importance of the topic. It is a ruse and nothing more. An effort to highjack your rights covered by a pretext of concern for the public. Even though it promises to protect your rights to water, it provides no more protection than the zoning ordinance city council modifies every week allowing corporate landlords to build evermore apartment complexes. It does nothing to ensure new development has enough water if it is infill, or on land already annexed to the city, virtually all of which belongs to a single developer.
    We have a housing shortage, and house prices are high, so developer La Plata Communities bought 5 square miles of land on which to build new homes. The land, which La Plata calls Amara, borders the city of Fountain, and initially, they asked to be annexed by Fountain. But Fountain doesn’t have sufficient water rights to support the area, so La Plata asked Colorado Springs to annex it. The problem is, Amara isn’t even close to Colorado Springs and it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to connect it to city services. Unfortunately, there is no vacant land adjacent to the city available because it’s all owned by Norwood Development Group, which has no incentive to build affordable housing considering it has a monopoly. The ordinance is simply a legal reinforcement of that monopoly ensuring we will never have affordable housing, but profits will be astronomical for Norwood. Follow the money. The reason I got into the race is because of the corrosive effect of bought and paid for politicians. Norwood controls Wayne Williams, and La Plata owns Sallie Clark. If you care about the future of our city, don’t vote for the puppets.
    b. How do you balance the need to conserve water and create a buffer for capacity with the need to provide housing to meet the City’s current 12k unit shortfall?
    Conserving water is fundamentally different than restricting which developer gets to exploit it. My undergraduate degree is in biochemistry, and as the only scientist in the race, I would apply my experience and education to the problem. Fundamentally, water isn’t used up. The water that is on this planet is the same water that has always been here, and the water cycle is one of the most basic principles in earth science. Basically, we need to use the water more effectively before it evaporates, percolates into the soil, or flows downstream. One of the best ways of doing that is through water reuse. Currently, it is illegal to use greywater irrigation. Roughly half of our water is used indoors, and half for irrigation. Reforming this obsolete law could basically double our water resources.
    Obtaining more water is mostly a negotiation problem, which the city has been aggressively pursuing for years, and which I would continue. One of the most promising partnerships we are currently working on is our agreement with farmers in the San Luis Valley to build them more efficient irrigation systems in exchange for water rights. It is a situation in which everyone wins. However, in the bigger context, our water problems involve the entire Colorado River Basin, and unfortunately, there is only so much the mayor can do.
    Creating a water buffer requires building reservoirs. An ordinance doesn’t magic the water into existence. A nice side benefit of our particular topography is that we can build reservoirs that do not affect stream ecosystems and can be used for pumped storage to maintain energy resilience as we transition to more wind and solar. Although I was adamantly opposed to decommissioning Martin Drake, modern solar panels produce electricity cost effectively. They don’t produce it on demand, though, so we need energy storage. Mountainside reservoirs would kill two birds with one stone.
    3. The City funds several programs through sales tax including TOPS (Trails Open Space and Parks) and PPRTA (Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority).
    a. Do you believe that sales tax is an appropriate mechanism to fund these programs?
    Yes, sales tax is the primary revenue source for the city. I don’t like any taxes, but in comparison to the others, sales taxes aren’t bad. They are fair, they aren’t complicated and don’t add a large paperwork burden to the taxpayer, they can’t be gamed, they don’t have many special interest exemptions and they are a tax on consumption, not earnings. They do however fluctuate fairly significantly based on economic conditions. If the city budgets appropriately and invests in long term assets like infrastructure when times are good, a reduction in revenue during a recession can be handled appropriately. The second biggest source of revenue for the city is property taxes. These are significantly more problematic. Taxing people just for owning a home is pretty offensive philosophically. Your taxes can also increase dramatically even if you don’t change your behavior at all. This can make keeping your home difficult for people on fixed incomes. Overall, property taxes are a significantly worse than sales taxes, both for taxpayers and for the city. Finally, the city receives grants from other government agencies. These should be avoided whenever possible. Government grants always come with significant strings and are essentially choosing to be bribed by your own money. The taxpayers who pay other governments are not enriched by having their money be laundered through multiple bureaucracies before coming home.
    b. Do you think current tax rates are sufficient or should they be changed?
    I think the citizenry should be in charge of setting tax rates and the concomitant level of services.
    4. Please describe what in your opinion constitutes a thorough and engaging stakeholder (including people on different sides of an issue) process?
    a. In your opinion is the City Council offering an appropriate level of engagement with stakeholders?
    Of course, citizen engagement is not adequate. The developers who run the town and own the politicians don’t care what you think. Council only has public meetings twice a month and those are scheduled in the middle of the workday they also conflict with the Board of County Commissioners, so you can’t go to both. All the decisions are made out of sight and by the major developers who own the politicians. Try to oppose a development project and see how far you get. Commission a study and see if it makes a difference. Neither facts nor logic nor law mean anything. I got into the race because I spent tens of thousands of dollars on attorneys and engineers trying to get the city to OBEY THE LAW. It didn’t work. What worked was a political donation. That is wrong. However, the whole idea of “stakeholders” is nonsense. The literal meaning of the word is people who have an ownership interest, but the political meaning of the term is people who DON’T have an ownership interest but who nevertheless want to tell people what to do with their lives. I won’t stand for people interfering with your private decisions. I won’t have busybodies telling you how to worship, who to marry, what to do with your body, or what to do with your property. You do you. If you break the law, you will have consequences, otherwise, the city’s job is to leave you alone.
    5. What are the top three critical issues facing the City in your opinion?
    The only legitimate functions of City Government are Public Safety, Public Works and Public Parks.
    6. Our region is on the edge of federal air quality standards set by EPA for ground-level ozone, a pollutant that is harmful to children and elderly residents. Much of the ozone pollution that comes into our region is generated by sources that are out of our control. However, a large share of regionally-generated ozone pollutants come from transportation emissions. As Mayor/City Council, what strategies would you pursue, if any, to try to keep us out of a costly, long-term nonattainment designation by EPA?
    a. How do you believe public and private transportation in Colorado Springs
    can be improved?
    Colorado Springs was founded by a Civil Engineer and it shows. Those areas of town laid out by Palmer are desirable, sustainable and walkable. When developers got control of things, we got streets that change names and direction or dead end into shopping malls. The term for what we have is stroads, which aren’t designed either for humans or facilitate traffic flow, they’re designed to force you into shopping centers owned by the developers. Short-term, the damage is done, but we can stop making the problem worse, and start making the first steps toward density and revenue positive multimode transportation where it makes sense.
    7. With the severe shortage in police recruitment and retention within CSPD, what do you see as the causes that create this shortfall and what remedies would you be open to exploring?
    Colorado Springs is unique among large cities in that we have the most pro-cop populace and thousands of veterans who are willing and able to risk their lives for the rest of us. We could staff up tomorrow if we could convince potential and active officers that the job is worth having. While I strongly opposed qualified immunity and am glad it was thrown out, and I have no objection to officers who have made questionable decisions going through the judicial system, we as a city must absolutely support our officers. No one is above the law, and if a public safety officer is found guilty, they should be treated like any other criminal, but innocent until proven guilty is also a bedrock principle, and until a guilty verdict is returned, all officers must have the assurance that they won’t be thrown under the bus by politicians. A couple months ago, a firefighter was involved in an incident which resulted in death. The city council (and two candidates for mayor) voted to deny him a legal defense. That sends a message, and results in de-policing even if we had staff numbers where they should be.
    8. What policies and solutions are you open to exploring to address the growing
    homelessness issue in Colorado Springs?
    Homelessness is a choice. There are more beds available than people on the street. I am a live and let live guy. I am not going to tell people how to live their lives, but on the other hand, you don’t have the right to commit arson, pollute our greenways, engage in public drug use, or endanger everyone else. I will enforce the law to encourage our homeless population to make use of the resources that are available to them.
    9. What issues would you recuse yourself due to personal conflicts?
    I own an RV Storage Facility at Powers and Dublin, and am looking to expand my business, so any development plans that relate to the issues regarding RV parking (but not homeless camps), or land development affected by land I own or would purchase would be issues I recused myself from.
    10. Why should we elect you?
    Because I’m the only candidate who has the education, experience, and expertise to actually do the job that isn’t a sold-out career politician.
Darryl Glenn
  1. Why is a thriving Downtown important for the economic future of our entire city?
    My top priority is fixing our growing crime problem. My goal is to make Colorado Springs the safest city in the nation. I believe this focus will prove to be the most crucial factor in creating a thriving downtown.
  2. What role(s) are appropriate for the City to play in addressing our housing shortage, and what tools/methods do you support to increase the stock of affordable and attainable housing?
    The government cannot solve the affordable housing crisis nor should it attempt to implement policies that interfere with property rights. The government has an important role in administering and enforcing safety standards for housing. However, when it comes to affordability, the government’s role should be limited and constantly monitored to avoid infringing upon private property rights. I also believe that it’s not the government’s job to use tax-payer funding to artificially influence the affordable housing market. Housing affordability within any community is not a fundamental right.
  3. Would you support efforts to increase City Council pay to a reasonable living wage in order to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to serve?
    I believe City Council’s stipend should be raised to at least minimum wage.
  4. As the Drake Power Plant is decommissioned, what factors are important for consideration of future use of the site (assuming environmental conditions are compatible)? Why is this site important?
    I do not support the decommissioning of the Drake Power Plant. I believe this site should be retained for its original use or other options that support the local production of our energy supply.
  5. If elected, what is your commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community?
    My top priority is fixing our growing crime problem. My goal is to make Colorado Springs the safest city in the nation. I believe this focus will prove to be the most crucial factor in the attraction, expansion, and retention of our businesses and workforce development. Moreover, a heightened focus on establishing a safe community is essential to the quality of life for our residents, maintenance of a healthy tourism industry, and fulfilling our role in supporting our military members, veterans, and their families.
  6. Since 1980, the City of Colorado Springs has charged a 2% tax at hotels for nightly stays and a 1% tax on car rentals. The current hotel and rental taxes (LART) combined raise about $10 million annually in revenue for the City. There has been discussion recently about increasing the lodging tax from 2% to 4% and the rental car tax from 1% to 2%. Would you support such a move, and/or support placing the issue on a ballot for voters to consider?
    No. I do not support tax increases in this economic climate.
Longinos Gonzalez, Jr.
  1. Why is a thriving Downtown important for the economic future of our entire city?
    Downtown is the heart of our great city and success and pride there and is a positive driver for our economy not just in Colorado Springs, but our region. Continuing the renewal of the Downtown area will benefit all businesses. Imagine an even stronger and thriving (and walkable) housing community and potential riverwalk area, and a growing retail, restaurant, and art scene in those underutilized areas.
  2. What role(s) are appropriate for the City to play in addressing our housing shortage, and what tools/methods do you support to increase the stock of affordable and attainable housing?
    The city does need to be involved in addressing the housing situation, especially in collaboration with our community partners, builders, businesses and nonprofits. Cutting red tape and permitting timelines will help cut costs to developers and residents. And while a county commissioner working with our County Housing Authority, we were able to effectively use private activity bonds and matching grants, and additional programs for new and low-income homebuyers, to fund new affordable housing and get residents into homes. I will pursue and expand similar proposals within the city. Additionally, I will advocate at the state level with our legislature and governor to oppose bills that negatively affect housing costs for our residents and builders. I will also promote smart growth decisions within the city that will reduce infrastructure costs associated with new developments and take advantage of infill projects and access to essential services.
  3. Would you support efforts to increase City Council pay to a reasonable living wage in order to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to serve?
    Yes, I believe the current $6,200 per year salary is a barrier for many of our outstanding residents from running for office. By increasing council salary to a reasonable level (an approval that requires a vote and support from residents), we will allow many more qualified candidates and advocates to run for council.
  4. As the Drake Power Plant is decommissioned, what factors are important for consideration of future use of the site (assuming environmental conditions are compatible)? Why is this site important?
    As the decommissioning continues, CSU need to continue to support its primary mission, providing safe, reliable, and low-cost power production and water/wastewater services. The redevelopment of the area needs to ensure any environmental cleanup is done effectively and efficiently, and that follow on uses benefit our residents and community. Such benefits could include housing, commercial, multi-use, or recreational, depending on input from the public and whether or not the site is retained by CSU or sold.
  5. If elected, what is your commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community?
    I have always worked to ensure all residents within our community are represented and have a voice and will continue to do so. I’ve collaborated with and served on various diverse organizations such as the Black & Latino Leadership Coalition and the Hispanic Business Council, and given support to the Women’s Chamber, Black Chamber, and El Pomar’s ELD program among others. I continue to occasionally substitute teach in HSD2, our most diverse school district, so that I can mentor youth. I will continue that record of fairness to all and being a voice for all as your next mayor.
  6. Since 1980, the City of Colorado Springs has charged a 2% tax at hotels for nightly stays and a 1% tax on car rentals. The current hotel and rental taxes (LART) combined raise about $10 million annually in revenue for the City. There has been discussion recently about increasing the lodging tax from 2% to 4% and the rental car tax from 1% to 2%. Would you support such a move, and/or support placing the issue on a ballot for voters to consider?
    Residents recently rejected a parks’ TOPS tax increase that is otherwise largely supported by our community, and with rising utility bills, a threat of recession, and inflation hitting all families, I do not believe the city should be looking to increase taxes. The city’s budget has increased 36% since 2019 and recently approved a TABOR retention request that also provided additional ongoing funds. I believe we can better utilize the general fund to address the priority concerns of our residents and the downtown.

Lawrence Martinez

Questionnaire responses were not received from this candidate.

Jim Miller

Questionnaire responses were not received from this candidate.

Christopher Mitchell

  1. The City Council recently passed an ordinance that would put limitations on future annexations of land for development based on Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) capacity to supply water. One of the critical points of this ordinance is setting CSU’s ability to deliver 130% of current demand as a prerequisite for future annexations.
    a. Do you believe 130% is an appropriate threshold to set?
    See Question 2.
  2. How do you balance the need to conserve water and create a buffer for capacity
    with the need to provide housing to meet the City’s current 12k unit shortfall?
    Ok. Currently, growth is completely mismanaged. I subscribe to “Graduated Growth
    Planning,” which defines the multivariate trend lines and the inter-relationships to the
    components of growth management (e.g. infrastructure, service coverage, natural resources, and open space conservation). “Graduated Growth Planning” is a customized growth management and projection model based on growth consolidation dynamics, minimizing compartmentalization and maximizing stability.
    The ordinance setting Colorado Springs Utilities’ ability to deliver 130% of current
    demand as a prerequisite for future annexations is a good starting point, with adjustments made in the consolidation phases of “Graduated Growth Planning.”
    As we grow by applying “Graduated Growth Planning,” the City of Colorado Springs can continue to consolidate finite water resources and the associated water resource management infrastructure, such as reservoirs and watersheds. As demonstrated with the 130% rule, the City can use administrative mechanisms, impact fees, and development regulations to implement water resource policies.
  3. The City funds several programs through sales tax including TOPS (Trails Open Space and Parks) and PPRTA (Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority).
    a. Do you believe that sales tax is an appropriate mechanism to fund these programs?
    b. Do you think current tax rates are sufficient or should they be changed?
    Ok. I am a strong supporter of “the conservation of open space” and “community park
    development.” At the same time, I am committed to “fiscal responsibility and accountability in Government.” Therefore, concerning this issue, I am opposed to the TOPS tax extension. I confronted the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) about their “need”, and they cannot produce a minimum plan. According to Susan Davies of
    TOSC, “General Fund Support, LART (Lodging, Auto Rental Tax), PLDO (parkland
    dedication ordinance), PPRTA 3 (Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority), all provide limited resources for specific park related capital projects with the general fund providing the largest portion.” I believe the Parks System needs to exist within its City-designated General Fund budget, and stop burdening the residents at large with ill-conceived backdoor taxes (e.g. TOPS tax, LART, PPRTA).
  4. Please describe what in your opinion constitutes a thorough and engaging
    stakeholder (including people on different sides of an issue) process?
    a. In your opinion is the City Council offering an appropriate level of engagement  with stakeholders?
    As Mayor, I believe in meeting with, listening to, and taking input from multiple stakeholders in the decision-making process. I believe in building coalitions of people
    and groups to accomplish objectives. That is only practical
  5. What are the top three critical issues facing the City in your opinion?
    • Growth: Formulate and implement a set of pro-resident, “Graduated Growth
    Planning” policies with respect to Land Use, Development, and Infrastructure
    • Community: Formulate and implement a set of “Clean City” policies addressing
    trash cleanup, homeless populations, and gang violence (urban warfare).
    • Public Safety: Reduce workforce deficits in Public Safety Services and increase
    service coverage.
  6. Our region is on the edge of federal air quality standards set by EPA for ground-level ozone, a pollutant that is harmful to children and elderly residents. Much of the ozone pollution that comes into our region is generated by sources that are out of our control. However, a large share of regionally-generated ozone pollutants come from transportation emissions. As Mayor/City Council, what strategies would you pursue, if any, to try to keep us out of a costly, long-term nonattainment designation by EPA?
    a. How do you believe public and private transportation in Colorado Springs can
    be improved?
    The City is involved in many wasteful initiatives, programs, and proposals that benefit
    only small segments of the community. As Mayor, I will prioritize those components that benefit City residents at large. Similar to bike lanes, public transportation in Colorado Springs is predominantly underutilized. In the case of public transportation, it must be refactored for efficiency of use for the residents at large, In the case of private transportation; our lagging infrastructure must be brought in alignment with our growth
    dynamics for efficiency of use for the residents at large. In both cases, is where
    Graduated Growth Planning” will be applied.
  7. With the severe shortage in police recruitment and retention within CSPD, what
    do you see as the causes that create this shortfall and what remedies would you be open to exploring?
    First, I will get a briefing from the Police Chief to get a comprehensive view of the
    challenges facing CSPD, including recruitment goals and processes. As Mayor, one of
    my top priorities will be to maintain adequate service coverage, including equipment and staffing levels, for law enforcement and follow through on my duties. It is imperative to maintain an environment of appreciation, respect, unity, developmental training, and occupational safety for CSPD officers and employees.
  8. What policies and solutions are you open to exploring to address the growing
    homelessness issue in Colorado Springs?
    As Mayor, I will enforce the laws through the appropriate departments concerning
    homeless populations. I will devise and implement “Clean City” policies to remove the
    homeless from public and private areas in cases of unlawful activity, persistent public
    safety issues, and unsanitary conditions. Once off the streets and removed from the
    enumerated areas, I will work with community groups to identify the most appropriate
    redemptive path forward for homeless individuals. In addition, I will explore programs
    to examine and remedy the root causes of homelessness patterns. As Mayor, I will
    actively oppose the Federal dynamic of relocating illegal immigrants to our City and
    overloading City services intended for residents.
  9. What issues would you recuse yourself due to personal conflicts?
    Since I am running for this office as a regular Colorado Springs resident, a gig economy engineer by trade, with no specific business interests, I am unaware of any existing personal conflicts of interest. If I am aware of potential conflicts of interest, I will pursue the ethical path on a case-by-case basis.
  10. Why should we elect you?
    I am running for Mayor to maintain the City’s founding principles and sense of community, culminating in making Colorado Springs a World Class City of the Future. I
    will bring a practical and consistent style to the Mayor’s office.

 

Yemi Mobolade
  1. Why is a thriving Downtown important for the economic future of our entire city?
    I am a downtown business owner and specifically chose to start my business in downtown Colorado Springs. This decision contributed to catalyzing downtown’s much needed renaissance. My decision to locate my business in the downtown community is in part due to my belief that downtown is the heartbeat of Colorado Springs. A healthy and economically prosperous Colorado Springs starts with a thriving city center. In addition to serving as the historic core of our community, downtown Colorado Springs represents the image and character of the city, creating a critical mass of activities where commercial, cultural, and civic activities are concentrated. This concentration facilitates business, learning, and cultural exchange. In addition, downtown is an important driver for the city, generating much higher tax revenues than other parts of the city, making a major contribution to the economic health of the city. As mayor I will work to ensure an inclusive, culturally rich, economically prosperous, safe, and vibrant downtown. I will support the ongoing execution of the Experience Downtown Master Plan while ensuring a great partnership with the stewards of our city center, the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs.
  2. What role(s) are appropriate for the City to play in addressing our housing shortage, and what tools/methods do you support to increase the stock of affordable and attainable housing?
    In 2019, 71% of homes in Colorado Springs were affordable, today only 24% of homes are considered affordable. This new reality impacts the ability of the pillars of our community to afford housing, including teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, and military. While the City of Colorado Springs is not a housing partner, as mayor I will support the development of diverse housing and preservation of affordable housing in Colorado Springs. More specifically, I will:
    1. Facilitate increasing the supply of affordable housing through new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation, and preservation of the existing affordable housing stock.
    2. Increase long-term funding and incentives to bring down the cost of housing development and increase the housing supply.
    3. Expand existing municipal financial (tax rebate) incentives for affordable housing projects.
    4. Work with philanthropic foundations to establish a “missing-middle housing fund” to support housing innovation for residents that make $50K-$100K a year.
    5. Appoint a Chief Housing Officer (without adding a new position) who will develop public-private partnerships opportunities and advance our city’s housing priorities, including expediting attainable and affordable housing projects.
  3. Would you support efforts to increase City Council pay to a reasonable living wage in order to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to serve?
    While I am hesitant to add more expenses to the city’s General Fund, I do believe a livable wage for City Council members will increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of the candidate pool. City Council is a full-time job (up to 60 hours a week) yet Council members only receive a salary of $6,250 a year ($520 a month). The need to work a traditional full-time job in addition to the full demands of the office deters residents from seeking a Council seat. Colorado Springs will likely never have the city’s best and brightest serving our legislative body until a pay increase is considered and implemented. I am proposing a reasonable and modest pay increase with the additional cost being shared by both the City’s General Fund and Colorado Springs Utilities.
  4. As the Drake Power Plant is decommissioned, what factors are important for consideration of future use of the site (assuming environmental conditions are compatible)? Why is this site important?
    I support a mixed-use redevelopment that will provide a variety of entertainment and recreational experiences. With Drake Power Plant located close to the confluence of Fountain Creek and Monument Creek, I am especially in favor of redevelopment that incorporates a waterfront revitalization. Cities across the United States have transformed their waterfront areas to provide for recreation, cultural activities, dining, nightlife, and entertainment. A thriving waterfront area with a river walk, kayaking, fishing, and other quality of life benefits is one of the last missing elements for a successful city infrastructure in Colorado Springs. This type of development has the potential to improve the health and aesthetics of the city, spark economic opportunities, and bring more people and energy to downtown Colorado Springs. The success and implementation of this vision will rely on a robust stakeholder as well
    as community engagement to generate support and gain valuable feedback.
  5. If elected, what is your commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community?
    My vision for Colorado Springs is an inclusive, culturally rich, economically prosperous, safe, and vibrant city on a hill that shines brightly. As an immigrant, I have felt what it’s like to be an outsider. I will bring this knowledge and experience to the office of the mayor and channel that empathy to equitably serve all Colorado Springs residents, regardless of income, race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability. I will be a Mayor for ALL Colorado Springs residents. Furthermore, I am committed to the belief that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore possess truth, beauty, and goodness. Because of this belief, one of my highest priorities as mayor will be to protect our Colorado Springs citizens in all their diversity by keeping our neighborhoods safe. This is one of the most essential functions of your mayor and city government.
  6. Since 1980, the City of Colorado Springs has charged a 2% tax at hotels for nightly stays and a 1% tax on car rentals. The current hotel and rental taxes (LART) combined raise about $10 million annually in revenue for the City. There has been discussion recently about increasing the lodging tax from 2% to 4% and the rental car tax from 1% to 2%. Would you support such a move, and/or support placing the issue on a ballot for voters to consider?
    Yes, I support the move to increase lodging and rental car taxes. Tourism promotions in Colorado Springs are underfunded compared to our peer cities. Tourism is the 3rd largest employer in the Pikes Peak Region, providing more than 20,000 jobs and bringing more than $7 million per day into the local economy. In addition to providing the much needed funds to promote the region, as well as supporting cultural events such as Juneteenth and Fiestas Patrias that attract visitors to the city, LART increases will allow the City to better maintain our tourism attractions and parks. The burden of this tax increase falls on the visitors and tourists, making it a straightforward decision.
Kallan Reece Rodebaugh

 

  1. The City Council recently passed an ordinance that would put limitations on future
    annexations of land for development based on Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU)
    capacity to supply water. One of the critical points of this ordinance is setting CSU’s ability to deliver 130% of current demand as a prerequisite for future annexations.
    a. Do you believe 130% is an appropriate threshold to set?
    Yes. I believe that is a good buffer to have. We have to make sure the city of colorado springs has a sufficient supply of water before we start annexing land and sending water to other places.
  2. How do you balance the need to conserve water and create a buffer for capacity
    with the need to provide housing to meet the City’s current 12k unit shortfall?
    The League Of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak region informed me that 78% of our water usage goes to maintaining golf courses and resorts and people watering lawns. So that has to be addressed. Maybe charge more to businesses that go over a certain amount of water and new homes being built should look into alternative landscapes for lawns.
  3. The City funds several programs through sales tax including TOPS (Trails Open
    Space and Parks) and PPRTA (Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority).
    a. Do you believe that sales tax is an appropriate mechanism to fund these
    programs?
    Yes and no. The only problem I have with the tops tax is that 60% of the money accumulated goes to purchasing open spaces. There’s not a lot of open space in the city of colorado springs anymore due to such rapid growth. So I think most of the money should go to maintaining our parks and trails we already have.
    b. Do you think current tax rates are sufficient or should they be changed?
    I think the tax rates are fine where they are, we should just be smarter with the money we are receiving.
  4. Please describe what in your opinion constitutes a thorough and engaging
    stakeholder (including people on different sides of an issue) process?
    a. In your opinion is the City Council offering an appropriate level of
    engagement with stakeholders?
    I think it is best to listen to both sides and take something from both sides that are mutually agreed upon that will benefit both parties.
  5. What are the top three critical issues facing the City in your opinion?
    Affordable housing is huge! We have to get control of that because it plays right into the homeless crisis, which will get worse if we keep ignoring it. The rapid growth of the city is also alarming. We have to make sure we have the resources to support this growth or we’ll create and add to problems we are facing. Like the 12k unit shortfall we have.
  6. Our region is on the edge of federal air quality standards set by EPA for ground-level ozone, a pollutant that is harmful to children and elderly residents. Much of the ozone pollution that comes into our region is generated by sources that are out of our control. However, a large share of regionally-generated ozone pollutants come from transportation emissions. As Mayor/City Council, what strategies would you pursue, if any, to try to keep us out of a costly, long-term nonattainment designation by EPA?
    Study where people travel the most and see if we can increase bus routes and ride share options to those places to limit the amount of cars on the road.
    a. How do you believe public and private transportation in Colorado Springs
    can be improved?
    Again look at where people are traveling to most and increase those routes and times.
  7. With the severe shortage in police recruitment and retention within CSPD, what
    do you see as the causes that create this shortfall and what remedies would you
    be open to exploring?
    Ask them what is the root cause of this. Lack of funding? No incentive to do the job? Is the job worth the stress? We definitely have to ask them what the problem is. Being a police officer is a tough job and I do not think they get enough credit for what they do. Everyday they put their life on the line for their community and its citizens. Increase their pay, increase their training and give more incentives to become a police officer and stay here in Colorado springs are some things I would look into.
  8. What policies and solutions are you open to exploring to address the growing
    homelessness issue in Colorado Springs?
    I would like to start by increasing the funding for the homeless. Right now the budget allocates $500,000 to the homeless out of $420 million, Which is 0.11% of the budget and that number has not changed in 3 years. That is where I would start.
  9. What issues would you recuse yourself due to personal conflicts?
    None because I am in nobody’s pocket.
  10. Why should we elect you?
    Because I want to have a positive impact on my community and help everyone I can. I love this city, it has been so great to me and I think I can bring a lot of good changes to the city.
Tom Strand
  1. The City Council recently passed an ordinance that would put limitations on future annexations of land for development based on Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) capacity to supply water. One of the critical points of this ordinance is setting CSU’s ability to deliver 130% of current demand as a prerequisite for future annexations.
    a. Do you believe 130% is an appropriate threshold to set?
    I am not in favor of the 130% Water Buffer Ordinance. The 2016 Southern Delivery System, the 2017 Integrated Water Plan , and the recent successful Conservation results indicate this is too much reserve , too fast. I recommend a six month moratorium on this Ordinance, while we conduct an in-depth regional commission and study. This would also include a six month moratorium on “ so called flag pole” annexations.
  2. How do you balance the need to conserve water and create a buffer for capacity with the need to provide housing to meet the City’s current 12k unit shortfall?
    In my opinion these important community demands are not mutually exclusive. With careful land use planning and zoning management, we can limit water use and avoid waste by enforcing exterior watering use and encouraging indigenous grasses and vegetation. The 12K housing shortage is an economically critical need, and must be addressed even more quickly than the 2,000 units now targeted. We must use economic incentives, grants, and other public/private development partnerships to build more “affordable” housing units.
  3. The City funds several programs through sales tax including TOPS (Trails OpenSpace and Parks) and PPRTA (Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority).
    a. Do you believe that sales tax is an appropriate mechanism to fund these programs?
    I believe both of these are appropriately funded with our sales taxes, which are paid by residents, as well as visitors and tourists. These initiatives are essential to fund open space, trails and parks, as well as critical infrastructure including roads, bridges , curbs , gutters and sidewalks.
    b. Do you think current tax rates are sufficient or should they be changed?
    I think the current tax rates are sufficient and appropriate as now collected.
  4. Please describe what in your opinion constitutes a thorough and engaging stakeholder (including people on different sides of an issue) process?
    a. In your opinion is the City Council offering an appropriate level of engagement with stakeholders?
    As a 8 years At Large City Council Member, I believe that we do offer Citizens, Residents, and other Stakeholders thorough and appropriate opportunities for communication and interaction with our City elected officials and City Administrators. Multiple monthly meetings , town halls and numerous public assemblies provide very active engagement and public feedback.
  5. What are the top three critical issues facing the City in your opinion?
    a) Public Safety, public safety, public safety. We need to have all citizens engaged to make Colorado Springs the safest City in America. More first responders, better equipped, better trained.
    b) Adequate, affordable Housing , single family, multi-family and duplex’s. Higher, attainable goals today.
    c) Managed Economic Growth & Development: We much continue to attract and expand industrial, manufacturing , and retail businesses, with incentives to expand and provide good paying jobs with long-term career potential.
  6. Our region is on the edge of federal air quality standards set by EPA for ground-level ozone, a pollutant that is harmful to children and elderly residents. Much of the ozone pollution that comes into our region is generated by sources that are out of our control. However, a large share of regionally-generated ozone pollutants come from transportation emissions. As Mayor/City Council, what strategies would you pursue, if any, to try to keep us out of a costly, long-term nonattainment designation by EPA?
    a. How do you believe public and private transportation in Colorado Springs can be improved?
    This is a “must do” objective and obligation fir all of our citizens, young, older, healthy, seeking health. We partner with our municipally owned utilities, businesses and industries to maximize emissions control, encourage renewable energy and public and multi mobile transportation. We can definitely incentivize car pooling as opposed to single rider motor vehicles. Our public bus rider participation must be increased with more routes and greater frequency. This need to be a specific target area of the City Council and the Executive Branch, with elected officials participating in public transit.
  7. With the severe shortage in police recruitment and retention within CSPD, what do you see as the causes that create this shortfall and what remedies would you be open to exploring?
    For me this is job # 1 for any new administration. We have increased sworn police officers significantly the last 8 years with about 750 police officers on duty daily. It’s not enough and does not meet our requirements for a huge city of 200 sq miles and 500K citizens. We need to recruit trained officers from other cities, create a Police College in our City to train students in our entire region, and encourage parents and neighbors to support careers of out youth in public safety. This includes CSFD, and Emergency Management Services. Retention must be a focus area.
  8. What policies and solutions are you open to exploring to address the growing homelessness issue in Colorado Springs?
    The February point in time homeless count would indicate a reduction in our homeless community. I disagree. This segment of our population is growing and more visible, especially in homeless camps and groups that just move from one location to another. First, we focus on families, mothers & fathers with children, and get them into temporary housing and jobs. Then we provide wrap around serve , like Mt Carmel provided to former military, to assist with mental heath services and substance abuse rehabilitation. The final group needs stronger law enforcement control and accountability. We need to double our CSPD Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) members. We also should have the City Homeless Coordinator work directly for the Mayor.
  9. What issues would you recuse yourself due to personal conflicts?
    At this time I am not aware of any City Issues that I would consider recusing myself from as Mayor. This is a “ moving target , and there may occur programs, projects, or
    community members that would require recusal in the future to ensure fairness and equitable treatment.
  10. Why should we elect you?
    Commitment, Experience, and Integrity. As a military veteran, former school board member , and current City Council Member & CS Utilities Board Member, I have the job knowledge and current community connections to hit the ground running , and be immediately effective. I have held all the possible leadership positions, as School Board President, CS Utilities Vice Chair & Chair, and City Council President Pro-Tem, and now President.
John Tig Tiegen

Questionnaire responses were not received from this candidate.

Wayne Williams
  1. Why is a thriving Downtown important for the economic future of our entire city?
    While I live in Briargate, I have worked in downtown Colorado Springs for a quarter century. For the four years I served as Colorado’s Secretary of State, I worked in downtown Denver. In any city, a healthy, thriving downtown serves as the cultural, entertainment and economic center of that city and we deserve a downtown we can be proud of. It is important for the future of our city that we continue to revitalize our downtown by encouraging economic development, recruit new businesses, and foster the natural beauty and charm of Colorado Springs. As Chair of the Colorado Springs Housing Authority, I oversaw the restoration of Lowell School, which triggered the revitalization of southeast downtown area. As a member of City Council, I’ve played an active role in the revitalization of our urban core, including the approval of Weidner Field and the Robson Arena. I’ve also supported the Collectives’ efforts to refurbish the City Auditorium.
  2. What role(s) are appropriate for the City to play in addressing our housing shortage, and what tools/methods do you support to increase the stock of affordable and attainable housing?
    As Chair of the Colorado Springs Housing Authority, I worked with Peterson Air Force Base to build Creekside at Norwood, an affordable apartment building designed to provide off-base housing for enlisted personnel. As Chair of Colorado Springs Utilities Board, I worked to establish a $2 million fund to cover utility connection fees for affordable and attainable housing to help encourage construction by non-profits and other community partners. On City Council, I worked with others to establish a program to rebate sales tax for affordable and attainable housing. As mayor, I will continue to work with community partners to incentivize a mix of both market-rate and affordable units. Home ownership is a key to personal wealth creation. As mayor, I will work with the legislature to improve Colorado laws so that we support the building of entry level home ownership opportunities.
  3. Would you support efforts to increase City Council pay to a reasonable living wage in order to increase opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to serve?
    In my public service I have taken substantial pay cuts in order to serve the public, but I recognize that not everyone is in a position to do this. I have supported reasonable efforts to compensate city council in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
  4. As the Drake Power Plant is decommissioned, what factors are important for consideration of future use of the site (assuming environmental conditions are compatible)? Why is this site important?
    As Chair of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board, I’ve been actively working on making necessary upgrades to our power grid to ensure that it is reliable, clean and safe from attack. On city council, I successfully led the closure of the 97-year-old coal-fueled Drake Power Plant and replaced it with more economical and cleaner power generation. What comes next for the site should meet the needs and wants of our city’s residents. The public land is located in the heart of our downtown and I’m support a robust public input process on what we can do with the site to further improve the beauty of our great city and enhance its economic vitality. That’s why I scheduled a presentation from the Drake Visioning Group at our last CSU Board meeting. Once Colorado Springs Utilities determines that a portion of the property is surplus, the city will make determinations as to its future, and as mayor I will work to ensure that our process recognizes these values.
  5. If elected, what is your commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable community?
    I am a strong supporter of community collaboration and I’ve worked hard to ensure we deliver on the promises made. I’ve attended, participated in and organized numerous opportunities for citizen input. We worked with community groups to renew the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (with 79.4% of the vote) and to pass measures funding public safety, parks, road maintenance and fire mitigation. We also worked closely with neighborhood groups in adopting our new zoning code and rules for ADUs and short-term rentals. As a member of City Council, I helped create the Law Enforcement Transparency Advisory Commission (LETAC) to bring diverse views together on police use of force and related issues. We successfully implemented LETAC’s recommendation for funding Alternate Response Teams. I’ve seen firsthand the importance of local leaders who work together. As mayor, I will continue to lead a city government that works with our residents, stakeholders, agencies, organizations and businesses to accomplish a shared vision and goals.
  6. Since 1980, the City of Colorado Springs has charged a 2% tax at hotels for nightly stays and a 1% tax on car rentals. The current hotel and rental taxes (LART) combined raise about $10 million annually in revenue for the City. There has been discussion recently about increasing the lodging tax from 2% to 4% and the rental car tax from 1% to 2%. Would you support such a move, and/or support placing the issue on a ballot for voters to consider?
    Visitors to our community pay the lodging and auto rental tax. We ought to ensure that they pay their fair share to support our tourist-burdened parks like Garden of the Gods. As a proponent of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, I support referring the question to the voters. Taxpayers, not government, should decide when it is appropriate for taxes to be increased. When existing revenue is not enough to fund essential services, it is both proper and necessary to ask the taxpayers for permission for additional funding.

WAYNE WILLIAMS UCCS SURVEY RESPONSES

  1. The City Council recently passed an ordinance that would put limitations on future annexations of land for development based on Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) capacity to supply water. One of the critical points of this ordinance is setting CSU’s ability to deliver 130% of current demand as a prerequisite for future annexations.
    a. Do you believe 130% is an appropriate threshold to set?
    Yes. Our first priority must be to ensure water for our city residents. Seventy percent of our water comes from the Colorado River, and we must be prepared for potential cutbacks and have a buffer to provide time to acquire additional water.
    As Chair of Colorado Springs Utilities, I helped lead the fight to replace the vague “foreseeable future” standard with a new ordinance guaranteeing a buffer before allowing new annexations to occur.
    The water professionals at Colorado Springs Utilities recommended a 130% buffer. After numerous meetings and several months of input we adopted stakeholders’ compromise suggestion of 128%. I supported this compromise.
  2. How do you balance the need to conserve water and create a buffer for capacity with the need to provide housing to meet the City’s current 12k unit shortfall?
    By prioritizing both, I’ve actively worked to increase both our water supply and our housing supply. We imposed a water resource fee that’s set aside in a dedicated fund to acquire new water rights. We’ve also entered into new agreements with our neighbors in the Arkansas Valley where we fund farmers’ irrigation improvements and then buy the water saved, and we’ve already acquired about 3,000 acre feet (about what 20,000 people use annually). This provides another source for water, reducing our reliance on the Colorado River. Our recently entered agreement with Bent County allows us to acquire an additional 12,000 acre feet, for a total of 15,000 acre feet.
    As Chairman of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board, I worked to establish a fund to cover utility connection fees for affordable and attainable housing to help encourage construction by non-profits and other community partners.
    On City Council, I worked with others to establish a program to rebate city sales tax for affordable and attainable housing. As mayor, I will continue to work with community partners to incentivize a mix of both market-rate and affordable units.
    Home ownership is a key to personal wealth creation. As mayor, I will work with the legislature to improve Colorado laws so that we support the building of entry level homes.
  3. The City funds several programs through sales tax including TOPS (Trails Open Space and Parks) and PPRTA (Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority).
    a. Do you believe that sales tax is an appropriate mechanism to fund these programs?
    Yes. Under Colorado’s Constitution, taxes must be approved by the voters. Numerous surveys and election results indicate that voters approve sales taxes over other potential revenue streams. Unlike many forms of revenue collection, sales taxes usually are paid in small amounts at a time.
    In Colorado Springs, we exempt necessities like food, drugs, medical care, housing, gasoline and utilities from sales tax. Consequently, a sales tax permits a citizen control over how much they pay. When you buy something expensive, you pay more sales tax. While if you only buy necessities, you pay very little sales tax. While the amount of sales tax collected for TOPS and the PPRTA does vary, both taxes are primarily capital, and the cost tends to track with the changes in sales tax receipts.
    b. Do you think current tax rates are sufficient or should they be changed?
    At the local level I believe tax rates are generally sufficient. We have one of the lowest cost per citizen municipal governments in the nation.
    I am committed to maintaining a low tax-burden for our residents. I also support the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights passed by Colorado voters. Taxpayers, not government, should decide when it is appropriate for taxes to be increased. When existing revenue is not enough to fund essential services, it is both proper and necessary to ask the taxpayers for permission for additional funding.
    As an elected official, I have referred several ballot measures, including creating the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. That measure ensured accountability through audits and citizen oversight, limited overhead to less than 1%, and guaranteed specific projects. We delivered what we promised, and our citizens just renewed the PPRTA with 79.4% of the vote.
    As mayor I will work first to ensure that we are efficiently using the funds we receive. In appropriate circumstances, I will support referring measure to the citizens seeking their permission.
  4. Please describe what in your opinion constitutes a thorough and engaging stakeholder (including people on different sides of an issue) process?
    a. In your opinion is the City Council offering an appropriate level of engagement with stakeholders?
    Yes. I am a strong supporter of community collaboration and I’ve worked hard to ensure we deliver on the promises made. I’ve attended, participated in and organized numerous opportunities for citizen input. For example, our Citizen Advisory Panel of the PPRTA – and similar panels of the member governments – for more than a year provided strong input into the creation of the recent PPRTA renewal ballot issue – a matter that passed with 79.4% of the vote. We just completed a three-year update to our city’s zoning code. Our extensive public input process recently was cited by columnists in The Gazette.
    The proposed water resource fee I cited earlier similarly was modified through the stakeholder process prior to its adoption. As mayor, I will lead a city government that continues to work with our residents, stakeholders, agencies, organizations and businesses to accomplish a shared vision and goals.
  5. What are the top three critical issues facing the City in your opinion?
    Public Safety. I am dedicated to providing Colorado Springs Police and Firefighters with the personnel, training, tools and resources necessary to keep our neighborhoods, businesses and schools safe. As a councilmember, we obtained voter approval to fund fire mitigation and adopted our city’s first fire evacuation ordinance. I will continue my work with state and local agencies to enhance wildfire preparedness and mitigation.
    Since joining the city council, we’ve added positions for 62 new police officers, 66 firefighters and funded 3 new fire stations, moved to a continuous police academy and established a public safety fee to make sure new development pays their fair share. As mayor, I will ensure our public safety needs are prioritized.
    Infrastructure (Roads, Water, Parks). Time spent in traffic gridlock is time lost with friends and family. It also has an adverse impact on our economy. That’s why I’ve championed road and infrastructure projects, including the widening of I-25 and the creation of the Pikes Peak RTA.
    As Chair of Colorado Springs Utilities, I helped create a developer-paid $5,800 per home water resource fee that goes into a separate fund to acquire new water rights. And we’ve reached agreements in the Arkansas Valley to upgrade farmers’ irrigation systems and buy the water we save – 3,000 acre feet acquired and entered a framework for 15,000 acre feet (enough for 100,000 users). For the first time, we’ve adopted specific protections for Colorado Springs residents, ensuring a buffer exists so that we have the necessary water for our future.
    During my four years on City Council, we’ve added over a thousand acres of parks and open space. And we added more than a thousand acres for El Paso County when I served as a County Commissioner. I helped refer the TOPS extension to the voters and I support its passage.
    Economic Vitality. I am committed to preserving a low tax burden for our residents while delivering economic growth to our city through business development and recruitment, as well as public/private partnerships and investments. I’m honored to be a past recipient of the Chamber’s Regional Leader of the Year Award and now serve on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Springs Chamber and Economic Development Corporation.
    Just like our families need to make important budget decisions to operate within their means, so does our city government. As mayor, we will continue to operate with a balanced budget and a healthy reserve that will allow us to withstand any future crisis.
  6. Our region is on the edge of federal air quality standards set by EPA for ground-level ozone, a pollutant that is harmful to children and elderly residents. Much of the ozone pollution that comes into our region is generated by sources that are out of our control. However, a large share of regionally-generated ozone pollutants come from transportation emissions. As Mayor/City Council, what strategies would you pursue, if any, to try to keep us out of a costly, long-term nonattainment designation by EPA?
    Colorado Springs is the state’s only major metropolitan area that meets the federal air quality standards. As Chairman of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board, I’ve been actively working on making necessary upgrades to our power grid to ensure that it is reliable, clean and safe from attack. I successfully led the closure of the 97-year-old coal-fueled Drake Power Plant and replaced it with more economical and cleaner power generation.
    a. How do you believe public and private transportation in Colorado Springs can be improved?
    The PPRTA I helped create has played a key role in supporting the growth of UCCS. The PPRTA provided the funding for additional turn lanes and other intersection improvements at Austin Bluffs and Nevada, built the interchange of Austin Bluffs and Union, and most recently funded the construction of Clyde Way. The PPRTA also provides annual funding of $15 million per year for transit. We must continue to prioritize road construction projects to meet the needs of our growing city and ensure reliable transit. Additionally, I support providing the public with more transportation options, including bike, scooter and car sharing.
  7. With the severe shortage in police recruitment and retention within CSPD, what do you see as the causes that create this shortfall and what remedies would you be open to exploring?
    Changes in the law and in public attitudes have made being a law enforcement officer less desirable. I’m proud to be an appointee of Governor Jared Polis on the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board where I and my colleagues have taken a number of steps to remedy these challenges, including improving training and removing an offender’s POST certification in appropriate circumstances.
    Maintaining public safety will be one my top priorities as mayor. In my four years on City Council, we have provided funding for an additional 62 police officers. It is also anticipated that our city will need add 200 more police officers by 2035 to keep up with our growth.
    Like most major cities, Colorado Springs has struggled to fill our available police positions, but we are making progress. We have moved to a continuous year-round police academy and are reducing the waiting time before a new class starts. As mayor, I will make sure that we’re competitive in the recruitment process, but we will always ensure our high standards are met. I will always ensure that our police, firefighters and other first responders know how much we appreciate them and respect their service.
  8. What policies and solutions are you open to exploring to address the growing homelessness issue in Colorado Springs?
    Colorado Springs is one of the few large cities in America where the number of unhoused have been reduced. We must continue to ensure we have sufficient beds so that we may enforce our laws protecting access and banning camping in certain public spaces.
    We must compassionately address the root causes of homelessness by working with non-profit partners like Springs Rescue Mission and Catholic Charities to provide education and treatment options for those experiencing drug addiction and/or mental illness. Likewise, I support public-private partnerships that provide job training and opportunities for our residents.
    For the health and safety of the public, we need to continue to enforce our city ordinances that prohibit individuals from blocking public right-of-ways and camping on, and potentially contaminating, our public spaces and waterways. We also need to expand our Homeless Outreach Team and Community and Alternate Response Teams to meet the needs of our community.
  9. What issues would you recuse yourself due to personal conflicts?
    I am an attorney, and I have refused to accept representation that would cause a conflict of interest with the city. Because Mayor is a full-time position, this potential for conflict would go away. If I was unable to act for the interest of the city, I would recuse myself.
  10. Why should we elect you?
    As a 30-year resident of Colorado Springs, I’ve seen our great city go through many changes. My wife, Holly, and I raised our four amazing children here, and I’ve worked to serve our community. My mission as Mayor is to ensure that through community collaboration, Colorado Springs remains the very best city to live, work and raise your families.
    As the only candidate with elected executive experience, I have a proven track record of accomplishment and leadership at both the local and state level – tackling problems effectively and efficiently with customer service that was “invariably helpful and cheerful.”
    I currently serve on the Colorado Springs City Council and Chair of Colorado Springs Utilities. Previously, I served as Colorado Secretary of State (2015-19), El Paso County Clerk and Recorder (2011-15), and El Paso County Commissioner (2003-11). I have been successful in each of these areas and was named the “Leader of Democracy” by League of Women Voters and “Regional Leader of the Year” by Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.
    I have a demonstrated ability to work across the aisle, empower and retain employees, and have the even temperament and integrity necessary to be a highly effective mayor for our great city. I’ve seen firsthand the importance of local leaders who work together. As a member of the City Council and the Utilities Board, I have worked to promote our city’s public safety, economic vitality, and our infrastructure needs, particularly in transportation and utilities. I am committed to enhancing services for our growing city, including utilities, parks, police and fire protection