Briefly describe the single most urgent issue facing the city of Denver and how it should be addressed.
It’s public safety. I’ve worked hard to create and fund new programs to address this in my first term. I partnered with DPD District 2 leadership and residents to design a community policing program in East Colfax. I created a program using CPTED studies to help small businesses address crime issues. In 2022, I took almost 1,000 weapons off our streets through a gun buyback program, which were turned into garden tools. I also partnered with Xcel Energy and DPD to deliver two lightbulbs to homes and add street lighting in problem areas.
What should Denver leaders do to address the city’s lack of affordable housing?
We need more deed-restricted affordable housing as well as more diversity in our housing options for middle-income earners. Leaders should continue to fund more deed-restricted affordable units in partnership with our affordable housing developers. I supported the Expanding Housing Affordability inclusionary zoning requirements and higher linkage fees, which will help achieve this goal. To expand housing options that are attainable for middle-income earners, I have addressed this challenge through legislative rezonings for accessory dwelling units in East Colfax and Montclair/Mayfair (currently in process), and will continue to have conversations with residents about ADU’s in my next term.
Do you support redevelopment at the Park Hill golf course property? Why or why not?
I voted no on the Park Hill Golf Course small area plan and rezoning because once we lose green space to development, we will never get it back. Denver ranks near the bottom in green space per residents when compared to other U.S. cities, and we know that access to green space is a public health issue. However, the plan approved by other councilmembers strikes a balance between much-needed added housing and park space for our residents. If the residents of Denver vote to remove the conservation easement on this land, I will support the will of the voters.
What should Denver leaders do to revitalize downtown Denver?
People want to feel safe, and they’re not coming downtown because it hasn’t felt safe recently. I’m very proud of the CPTED program I created, which is also being implemented downtown. We need to clean up the dog poop, get rid of the graffiti, get new awnings for businesses, add more trees and fresh paint, etc. Capital maintenance is expensive and it isn’t sexy, but it is extremely important. If we can positively affect the built environment, we can make our neighborhoods feel safer and more inviting, and people will want to be there.
What is Denver’s greatest public safety concern and what should be done about it?
We don’t have enough police officers and first responders in Denver. We have addressed this challenge in a number of ways over the past few years, including: higher pay, more training, signing bonuses, mental health supports, and technology solutions to help fill in gaps. I have been very supportive of these solutions and have partnered with our public safety departments to find new ways to support their efforts. Unfortunately, we simply cannot get people to apply for these jobs. Our first responders need the support of our residents and our state leadership, as well as city leaders.
Should neighborhoods help absorb population growth through permissive zoning, or do you favor protections for single-family neighborhoods?
Our unique neighborhoods make Denver special. We can strike a balance between adding housing density and maintaining the character of our neighborhoods. It is not all-or-nothing! But we have to be thoughtful about development and ensure that new development makes sense. It should fit into the surrounding context and benefit the existing residents. I’ve worked to strike this balance by proposing legislative rezonings to allow for ADU’s, and I recently proposed a design overlay along East Colfax so future development along the corridor will feel more welcoming, invite more small businesses, and be more pedestrian friendly.
Should the city’s policy of sweeping homeless encampments continue unchanged? Why or why not?
The city needs to continue to ensure the safety and welfare of our residents. If an encampment has become a public health issue, then it should be cleaned up. It is also inhumane to allow unhoused residents to sleep in tents outside in extreme temperatures. Denver has made positive changes over the past four years, like expanding the shelter system to 24 hours and purchasing old motels to be used as non-congregate shelters. We need to do more to expand options for unhoused residents in crisis as well.
Should Denver change its snow plowing policy? Why or why not.
Denver’s current plowing policies are the result of a few things: climate concerns around particulate matter in the air, staffing, and the availability of equipment. If we’re spending money on plowing, we are not spending it on other necessary city functions. I would need more information on what residents would be giving up if the city chose to expand its current plowing policies before I could make this decision. That said, we have to ensure that residents can access our main roads, schools, medical facilities, and parks at all times. Leadership should be prioritizing these areas when plowing.
What’s your vision for Denver in 20 years, and what would you do to help the city get there?
Denver should be a wonderful place to raise a family. We want to feel safe, to have good jobs, buy a home, and put healthy food on our tables. Denver’s cost of living has grown significantly. To help support families young and old, I exempted diapers and incontinence products from local sales tax. I also cosponsored Denver’s new wage theft ordinance, which will ensure workers get paid for the work they have done in our city. Wage theft affects thousands of Denver workers per year and puts at risk their ability to pay for necessary things like housing and food.
How better can city officials protect Denver’s environment — air quality, water supply, ground contamination? And should the city take a more active role in transit?
I supported increasing Denver’s trash diversion rates through weekly recycling and added composting services for residents. We have already seen a 28% rise in recycling diversion rates. The city needs to do more to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips too. Residents won’t be able to get out of their cars unless there are other reliable and safe transit alternatives. The city has added transit options like the Montbello connecter and plans to expand this program over time. Leadership also needs to work collaboratively with Denver Water to ensure that future residents have enough water to meet their needs.
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