I strongly support Boulder’s Campaign Finance Reform initiative, which was established in 1999 to limit the influence of money in local politics and to ensure that participation in the political process does not require excessive campaign expenditures. Under Boulder’s regulations, candidates who agree to limit campaign expenditures to a specific amount and who demonstrate broad public support through donations will qualify for matching funds from the city. Receiving matching funds helps candidates focus on campaigning rather than fundraising. I think this is a great embodiment of democratic ideals and I hope to qualify to participate in this program.
The citywide EcoPass is something our community regards highly and sees as an important component of meeting our environmental and social sustainability goals. I will work hard to make this a reality. A Transportation Issues Survey indicates that there is strong community support for this program. Six items in the survey garnered strong support for higher monetary expenditure: managing traffic congestion, RTD’s transit passes like the EcoPass, availability of downtown parking, keeping streets free of potholes and cracks, timing of traffic signals, and amenities at bus stops, like shelters and benches. Note that two of the six have to do with public transit. Two-thirds of respondents supported including in the Transportation Master Plan the objective of “no long-term growth in vehicle traffic.” Sixty-three percent would support a .3 percent sales tax for a city-wide EcoPass. Read what else I have to say about the citywide EcoPass.
I also support finding ways to address the transportation needs of our aging population. Some potential solutions include partnering with our non-profits to create more efficient paratransit, circulator buses that hit key places that older adults need to get to, and volunteer driver programs with higher mileage reimbursement to entice more volunteers.
Local Food Production
Growing and processing more of our food locally is good for our economy. A study commissioned by Transition Colorado in 2012 suggests that a 25% shift to locally produced food could create 1,899 new jobs, providing work for more than one in seven unemployed residents. The same shift could improve social equity, our health and our environment by making our community more food secure and improving air and water quality. Meeting the challenges of increasing our local food supply will require training the workforce, entrepreneurial initiatives and more education about the benefits of local food; all of these measures are things at which our community excels.
Our focus on revitalizing the Hill should begin with an effort to strengthen any collaboration among Hill stakeholders that already exists. The Hill has a long record of challenges related to alcohol use. In studying this history, one thing becomes quickly evident: open communication through cooperation among neighbors, students and the police has always shown the best results.
The current set of ballot measures that voters will decide on this fall is a great example of how, by putting our heads together, we can come up with solutions that carefully consider the realities and competing needs of our city. One important aspect of how Open Space purchases happen is in our ability to bond. We can do this only when we can demonstrate an appropriate revenue stream into the future. These measures, taken together, allow us to do just that. To maintain our capacity to buy properties according to the current acquisition plan, vote YES on 2B, 2C, and 2D.
To paraphrase one of the St. Julien Hotel partners, we need attractions that will bring people to Boulder on Tuesday nights in February. In other words, our hotels are quite full in the summer, but come winter the occupancy rate goes down. With the number of hotels that have recently come on line and with more in the pipeline, this sentiment becomes increasingly important. I believe that the Arts can help further diversify our economy.
An Open and Welcoming City
A recent Knight Foundation Report found a positive correlation between community attachment and local GDP growth. They found that one strong indicator of community attachment is openness. The report also found that less than one-quarter of residents rate Boulder highly as a good place for immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and talented college graduates seeking work. This is an opportunity for Boulder and I will find ways to improve upon this perception. This is one reason why I support a “Yes” vote on allowing non-citizens on boards and commissions.
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