What is your view about the Jefferson Parkway project?
I oppose the planning, development and construction of the Jefferson Parkway. I believe it is a public health risk, an environmental disaster-in-waiting, and an example of another bad deal for Arvada. The residents of Leyden Rock and Candelas do not want it built; most residents across Arvada do not want it built. The Jefferson Parkway will disrupt contaminated Rocky Flats soil, which is a risk that we cannot afford to take and a mistake we cannot afford to make. It is an expensive parkway to nowhere when our city resources should be spent on maintaining city infrastructure and repairing our roads and widening and repairing our sidewalks.
What are your views on the Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA)?
I believe AURA needs greater oversight and regulation, as their actions have been out of touch with Arvada residents and in violation of AURA’s intended use. Our current Council’s dependence on AURA needs to be reigned in to prevent future bad land and property acquisitions in the interests of developers. Furthermore, I believe AURA has violated Colorado’s urban renewal law through their selective definition of blight, which should only be used to address failing areas in cities that “contribute to the spread of disease and crime,” and that constitute a “serious and growing menace” to the public health, safety, and welfare of the city. Arvada has not been and will not be a city of blight. Therefore, I will proceed with the highest caution to not abuse the power allocated to AURA and advocate for more regulation through citizen input and voting over AURA’s actions.
What are your views on using tax increment financing (TIFs) as an incentive for businesses to develop in Arvada?
I oppose Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) as an incentive for business development. TIFs siphon tax revenue away from local government and directs it toward private interests and big developers, which is not the correct way to incentivize business growth. An example of TIF failure is the infamous $30 land deal, which is the nine-acre land deal in a TIF district valued at nearly six million dollars, which Arvada sold to Trammel Crow for only $30. This sale did not show an interest in Arvada's economy, but rather another bad deal and failure in Arvada's current leadership. I will enact strict oversight to ensure that future development projects create revenue surpluses and do not give away Arvada’s rightful tax revenue. Lastly, I will require voter approval for any urban renewal plan.
What should the city’s role be for utilities such as zoned trash and recycling haulers and broadband internet?
I support a single hauler trash and recycling system offered at the most affordable price. The facts show that citywide trash and recycling is the most affordable, safe, and logical option for Arvada. By introducing single hauler trash and recycling we greatly cut down on the number of trucks driving up and down Arvada streets everyday, therefore making our air cleaner, our streets safer, and reducing the wear and tear these heavy vehicles cause. The majority of residents are ready for single hauler trash and recycling, and now is the time we implement it.
As for broadband internet, I believe that internet access is a right rather than a privilege for those who can afford it or for those who live in an area with superior access speed. Studies have shown that students with access to broadband internet at home perform better, have less stress, and have more opportunity than students who have to visit a pubic access point like a coffee shop or public library. As a resident of District 4 we sometimes deal with slower internet speeds and cellular strength; therefore I want to lay more cables and work with providers to provide greater signal strength across the city. I also want to ensure that Arvada is ready for 5G connectivity.
What is your plan to help the city reach 100% use renewable energy by 2035?
I am 100% committed to doing everything I can to attain 100% renewable energy by 2035. Clean energy use and environmental protections have always been and will always be a priority of action for me. I think it is unacceptable that Arvada is not more dependent on solar and wind energy as our state receives more solar energy potential than most other states in this country. Furthermore, Arvada is situated in a unique geographical location by the foothills and Flatirons, which affords us ample wind energy potential. For Arvada to achieve this goal we cannot allow energy giants to decide our future direction. Companies like Xcel that claim that the task is too difficult are unwilling to put modernity and technology ahead of old, outdated methods – but we can change this. I will fight for Xcel to increase grid capacity and I support innovative projects like the White Roof Project and LEED certification for all future buildings, as well as tax incentives for green development. Ultimately you have to make hard choices when you're in a position of responsibility. I cannot think of a more dire and important issue than renewable energy and I will never relent on addressing this issue.
What does the city need to do to address the needs of the homeless in Arvada?
Arvada has seen an increase of homelessness over the last few years. Therefore it is understandable that this might be uncomfortable and unfamiliar in our city, and something that is easier and more comfortable to ignore rather than solve. However I will not ignore it as I think we have an opportunity to get ahead of this issue and change the narrative before it gets out of control. My motto is compassion meets action, which is a combination of effective mitigation strategies and the advocation of personhood rights. I will work with nonprofits, local organizations, local business, and faith-based organizations to implement what they already offer and brainstorm new solutions. I also want to increase mental health and substance abuse services in our city, specifically for opioid abuse and LGBTQ outreach. I will always advocate for the dispossessed and the disenfranchised and I believe our treatment of these groups is a reflection of who we are as a community.
How do existing city policies encourage gentrification? Will you support a zoning plan that has an emphasis on affordable housing?
Existing city policies absolutely encourage gentrification (see $30 land deal) and I will absolutely support a zoning plan that has an emphasis on affordable housing. I am 100%, against exclusionary zoning that keeps disproportionately racial minorities and affordable housing out of wealthy and middle-income neighborhoods. Doing so prevents equal access to a high-quality public education and good jobs, and creates greater economic disparity in
our city. We have to constantly keep looking at zoning and updating it as more people move into our city to keep it fair and updated. Furthermore, affording housing is non-existent in my district (District 4), which only offers single-family homes and townhomes starting at $250k to several million dollars. Our older residents cannot afford another expensive senior housing complex and Millennials cannot afford another luxury apartment building miles from public transit, like the G Line. Therefore I advocate for the introduction of tiny homes and thoughtful, well-designed high-density housing with subsidized designations, and of course citywide zoning changes.
Walk-ability and bike paths are increasingly popular, what are your ideas to increase the walk-ability of neighborhoods and assist the ease and safety of riding bikes?
We need to direct city resources to widening and repairing our sidewalks for better walkability. We need to add clearly defined bike paths to all existing and new roads to better promote road safety, and add LED lights to all crosswalks. We also need to make sure that all sidewalks, intersections and crosswalks adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The importance of ample and safe transportation and walkability for disabled citizens is often overlooked and needs to be a focus of this conversation.
How will you promote fair and equitable treatment of diverse and marginalized communities in terms of fair policing, economic advantages, and employment?
I believe that a community is stronger when we are more diverse and I will fight for diversity and equality every step of the way. I believe black lives matter and I acknowledge that young black men are incarcerated and killed at indiscriminately higher rates to due to a racially biased system. Therefore I support the use of body cameras and racial bias trainings and enforcing accountability. I also believe that LGBTQ individuals deserve the same rights and protections as heterosexual and cisgender individuals, and that women deserve equal pay and paid maternity leave. By changing our zoning codes we can promote inclusion and build stronger economic environments and households. We cannot price out diversity by building $2k+ a month apartments next to a light rail station. I also believe in homeownership incentives like Hometown Heroes, which takes 1% off new home ownership prices for police officers, firefighters, and teachers, all of who are underpaid for the vital work they do.
Tell us about your involvement with city issues, City Council, and city staff. Have you worked for any progressive, local issues, and how did you champion them?
I possess extensive leadership experience and community involvement thorough activism groups and in political interests. I am a proud member of Arvadans For Progressive Action, and for the last two years I have attended and participated in their activities for a fairer and better Arvada. I am also a 10+ year member of Arvada’s Adopt-A-Street program and partake in events for Jeffco Public Schools. I am the former Political Director of Jeffco Young Dems and a former Executive Board Member of Colorado Young Dems. I am a current Precinct Committee Person in Arvada where I work to get voters engaged on ballot issues, and I worked on Rep. Brianna Titone’s campaign fighting for the values that Arvada reflects. Lastly, I continue to work toward increasing the spotlight on youth mental health issues, gun violence, and LGBTQ rights.