Where I stand on Critical City and Regional Issues

TRAILS, PARKS AND OPEN SPACE


Let’s protect and grow these incredible assets.

Click here for Trails and Open Space Details

I will continue to be a strong advocate for our parks, trails and open spaces, ensuring that they have dedicated funding that can’t be cannibalized during tough economic times.

  • Parks and open spaces connect us, help keep us healthy and boost the value of our city to new residents and businesses. I will fight to keep them maintained, keep our urban forest healthy and see that new facilities and trail connections are built and special open spaces are protected in the future.

I will be a strong advocate for the creation of a Greenway system that will make us the best city in the country to bicycle. I wrote a recent white paper on a Master Greenway System and was the author of Senator Salazar’s Crown Jewel vision for the creation of a Greenway between Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

  • The opportunities are huge as we build out our stormwater infrastructure, re-negotiate the Banning Lewis Ranch Annexation agreement and connect the newly planned Heritage Trail around Cheyenne Mountain, the Ring the Peak Trail, and the Chamberlain Trail along our western edge.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

We can grow our opportunities and be Colorado’s next up-and-coming city.

Click here to see my economic growth agenda

I will be a strong advocate for growing our local economy by attracting millennials and entrepreneurs away from the increasingly congested and expensive North Front Range:

  • Upgrade our internet speeds and attract entrepreneurs. 
We need to renegotiate our Franchise Agreement with CenturyLink and Comcast to bring in higher speed internet.
  • Turn downtown into a more effective economic engine for all
  • I’ll push to retire the Drake Power Plan sooner rather than later so that part of downtown can be developed into affordable housing, an Arts District and a water park amenity at the confluence of Fountain and Monument Creeks. We can follow Denver’s successful model in the South Platte and Cherry Creek confluence development.
  • Promote Colorado Springs as a cybersecurity, fitness and Olympic hub
    In order to continue to grow our local economy, I will be a strong advocate to promote our outdoor recreation industry, our rapidly growing cybersecurity community and our health, fitness and Olympic assets.

Expand I-25 from Monument to Castle Rock

  • As I helped lead the effort to expand I-25 to three lanes from South Academy to North Academy, I will be a strong advocate to secure funding to expand 1-25 to three lanes between Monument and Castle Rock. We may never secure enough low-cost air carriers at our Colorado Springs Airport to attract new companies that value major airport access. But we could sure make it easier for them to get to DIA.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Our firefighters and police need our support now.

Click here to see my plan
  • I will push to get stormwater funding out of the General Fund in order to free up monies for our police and fire departments. A 14-minute response time to priority one calls is unacceptable and puts our citizens and safety personnel at risk.
  • I will advocate to bring our public safety personnel’s salaries in line with median pay for cities our size. We currently lose 4 in 10 police officers that we train to other cities.
  • I will be a strong advocate for innovative solutions— such as adding community service officer personnel who can respond to non-emergencies.
  • I will fight to ensure that our firefighters and police officers have the protection they need — such as adequate ventilation in fire stations (to protect against dangerous fumes) and vests that protect police officers against high-caliber assault weapons.

FIRES, FLOODS AND LANDSLIDES

We’ve fallen behind as a city in keeping abreast of these problems.


Click here to see how I’ll get us back on track
  • Our wildland-urban interface presents a huge fire and flood risk to our community. We are rated as a top risk in Colorado and one of the biggest risks in the US. I want to create a regional, voter-approved, mill levy-funded Fire, Flood and Landslide Protection District.
  • This District needs to be regional, as fires, floods and landslides occur across jurisdictional lines. I am particularly excited about an investment in surveillance drones that detect smoke and heat — massively shortening our local response time.
  • I will be a strong advocate for more landslide protection practices built into our building codes to prevent disasters from happening in the future and to ensure that builders are held responsible through bonding.
  • I will push for necessary mitigation in our wildland-urban interface to redirect potential floodwaters into wetlands, drainage basins and alluvial plains and create the firebreaks and forest thinning needed to both protect our built environment and keep our local forest’s healthy.

UTILITIES

We can control rates and be innovative while keeping utilities accountable to ratepayers.

Click here to see my utility initiatives
  • I strongly support keeping our utilities governed by elected officials who are accountable to our ratepayers. When we let Memorial Hospital’s Board be run by appointed professionals, it became very self-serving and didn’t always make the best decisions for the public. I would, however, appreciate more outside advice for the Utility Board to be a check and balance to the Executive Team.
  • I would never favor selling our utilities, but I would welcome more partnerships in the future, particularly with Excel Energy for the purchase of more renewal energy and more transmission from the grid so we won’t have to build our own electric generation.
  • I will be a strong advocate for proactive Demand Side Management (conservation) as a way to reduce rates the need to generate more electricity.
  • I will fight to reduce water rates for Colorado Springs Utilities customers by selling, at a premium, our excess SDS water (it’s all excess right now) to water districts outside our service territory that are facing water shortages or having a difficult time finding clean water. We may need to think about replenishing aquifers as a way to store water to reduce evaporation and to not force the building of too many reservoirs.

PANHANDLING AND THE HOMELESS

There are compassionate, common-sense ways to address our current problems.

Click here for my detailed ideas
  • I want to create a homeless service portal that would provide one-stop information about services and support for people in the most need (especially families, vets, children and teens). We currently have many agencies and churches out there doing the heavy lifting, but most of them don’t communicate with one another or are duplicating services while many needs go unmet or remain inaccessible.
  • I want to lead a campaign to discourage panhandling in downtown and Old Colorado City. We could accomplish this via window signage about available services (and church-sponsored transportation to those services). I know everyone has the right to panhandle, but if they aren’t given money, they may try to find other ways of earning money that don’t affect the livelihoods of so many small business owners and residents.
  • I will advocate for a mobile unit staffed with a nurse practitioner and a social worker, paid for by non-profit community collaboration. This unit could engage clients where they hang out or sleep, make sure they have their needs met, assess their medication/substance abuse needs and help keep everybody safe.
  • I will urge the Salvation Army to loosen its restrictions so that clients of their shelter aren’t banned so easily and for such long periods of time. It doesn’t make sense to have so many beds empty at the shelter when many are sleeping in camps, living in dangerous situations and creating waste problems in public spaces.
  • I am not opposed to the creation of an organized camp with sanitation facilities —providing we find the right location and put security in place. With these conditions met, homeless camps shouldn’t be allowed in other areas.

RETAIL MARIJUANA

Voters told us years ago they wanted recreational marijuana.

Click here for my position and ideas for making it work
  • I will advocate for allowing the sale of recreational Marijuana — either through council or popular vote. That being said, I would push to regulate the number of recreational marijuana facilities to make sure they were not allowed in residential areas and were properly distributed throughout the city.
  • Recreational marijuana is legal per our Colorado Constitution (which is now harder to change). We should get the tax revenue for these sales to be dedicated to local substance abuse programs and public safety. Right now there is a concentration of buyers on the Westside (Manitou), creating problems and lost revenue for Colorado Springs.

DISTRICT 3

Development and city issues affect us all!

Click here to see my ideas for home district solutions
  • I support the Westside Action Plan to finally clean up “No Man’s Land” between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. I will join the fight to fund and implement this worthy initiative.
  • I am also very excited about the new development plans on South Nevada, South Tejon and in the Ivywild District. I do want to make sure that housing remains affordable and there still exists a good mix of affordable housing and new commercial ventures.
  • I will be strong advocate for the continued, mixed-use development of lower Colorado Avenue that includes affordable housing. This is an important bridge to development in the south side of downtown.

INFRASTRUCTURE AND TABOR

I’m going to ask our city’s voters for a “time out” on TABOR.

Click here to see why
  • I will ask voters to put a “timeout” on TABOR so we can keep excess revenue during good economic times without always having to get voter approval. Our local “ratchet down” effect and TABOR cap are even more burdensome than the state’s.
  • During good economic times, we need to be able to easily invest in our aging and often neglected roads, bridges and parks. I would favor a 10-year sunset on this proposal and see where we go from there. If we are able to address our infrastructure and open space needs, I would favor re-instating TABOR caps to ensure that local government isn’t too wasteful. We are a long way from that point right now.