Campaign Finance

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.

Energy

I support the continued exploration of a municipal utility. The charter amendment approved in 2011 contains very well designed “off-ramps” that are built into the process. The city has gone above and beyond what’s called for in its analysis, garnering praise from third party reviewers, and providing council with the best possible information with which to make a decision. The city has continued the exploration of other options through the Boulder-Xcel Task Force. Whether our power supply ultimately comes from a municipal utility, a partnership with Xcel or some other course, I will make fiscally responsible decisions based on our community goals of having reasonable rates, reliable service, more renewable energy and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Read more of my positions on energy here.

Transportation

biking_in_snowThe 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.

Housing

When we talk about housing in Boulder, what we are really referring to is affordable housing. One key assumption in the development of a Comprehensive Housing Strategy for Boulder is that,”There are no solutions to Boulder’s affordability challenges. Demand to live in Boulder will always outstrip the housing supply. However, there are opportunities to respond more effectively.” In my view, there are many places where we can provide housing within our current urban boundary, without raising the height limit and without changing what people love about their neighborhoods. The land use pattern east of Folsom, for example, lends itself to housing opportunities through careful redevelopment of strip malls and parking lots especially along the 28th Street and 30th Street corridors. Read what else I have to say about housing.

Local Food Production

garlic_cropGrowing 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.

Marijuana

In 2010, during the development of ordinances for medical marijuana businesses, the City Council, Planning Board and staff took a tour of several medical marijuana facilities. We spent about half an hour at one establishment on East Pearl witnessing and discussing the number of skateboarders afflicted with something requiring the therapeutic effects of marijuana. Medical marijuana was the first step toward legalization of the substance. Recreational marijuana is another step on the route to that destination. The Department of Justice’s recently issued guidance memo on the implementation of marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington is yet another. Our task here and now is to create local laws that are effective and enforceable. At the end of the journey toward federal legalization, the result will likely be a substance that is regulated much like beer and alcohol.

Homelessness

Recently, I attended the distribution of the Citypak to numerous individuals by our excellent non-profit Bridge House. While there, I had a conversation with a homeless young man who proudly and animatedly described to me the details of his full-time job. He is saving money so that, hopefully soon, he can rent an apartment. Bridge House’s Ready to Work Program is the type of assistance that many homeless individuals crave: a job that can begin to lift them out of their situation. The issue of homelessness should not to be confused with the issue of vagrancy.

University Hill

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.

Open Space

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.

 

The Arts

Kent Young is an artist and woodworker

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.

 

More on the Issues

To see more of my positions on a variety of issues important to Boulder voters, please see the Community Questionnaire, hosted by the Blue Line, and the Chamber of Commerce’s questionnaire.