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Editor's note: Westside Pioneer's Q/A with City Council candidates

       Districts 1 and 3, among the six geographically represented areas on Colorado Springs City Council that are up for election April 4, are the ones taking in the Westside. District 1 covers the northwest part of the city, D-3 the southwest, with the division roughly along Fillmore Street and lower Pleasant Valley.
       As a major part of the Westside Pioneer's election coverage, we asked questions of the two candidates in District 1 and the two in District 3.
       In District 1, the incumbent is Don Knight, who was elected in 2013. He is being challenged by Greg Basham.
       The Pioneer submitted the same questions to both D-1 candidates. The article below consists of the Pioneer questions to and written responses from Basham. For Knight's responses to the Pioneer questions, go to this link.
       (For District 3, Chuck Fowler's Q/A is at this link; and Richard Skorman's Q/A is at this link.)
       The D-1 questions were:
       1. Various development plans for the Mesa (mainly Mesa Road, Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street, bounded roughly by Uintah, 30th Street and the north end of Kissing Camels) have spurred Comprehensive Plan concerns from existing Mesa residents about aesthetics, sightlines, traffic and other impacts. As a councilmember, what will be your response to these concerns?
       2. What is the best approach for the Drake power plant?
       3. What are the top three goals you hope to accomplish if elected?

Q/A: City Council District 1 candidate
Greg Basham

Courtesy of Greg Basham
       Age: 53.
       Family: Married, two children.
       Years in District 1: Six years.
       Years in the city: 27 years.
       Career:Division manager of Champion Windows.

       1. Mesa development. Many of the Mesa residents have legitimate concerns regarding infill projects within this portion of the community. It is well known that balanced growth involves infill/redevelopment opportunities in conjunction with sound planning practices.
       I suspect some of the concerns are about the development of the Penrose-St Francis building. Zoning for this building has already been approved and we need to be focused on completing this project with as little disruption to residents in this area as possible. We need to include all concerned parties in the discussion of design to achieve the best possible outcome with the least amount of negative impact on the surrounding area.
       The obvious benefits from the growth in this area can not completely outweigh the quality of life concerns of the local residents. City Council must hold the developers accountable for the promises made on design and accommodations to this area.
       2. Drake power plant. The Drake power plant is going to eventually move, so the discussion should be on how much time, resources and money we are going to put into it before we move our power needs to a new facility. We need to have a master plan of how we are going to replace this power source. We spent approximately $200 million on improvements to Drake to shortly after deciding to close it. Before we go any further we should be partnering with other utilities to share in the expense of building new power sources and investigating alternative power sources. We spent a third of the cost to replace the power from Drake just to repair what was shortly after determined to be an outdated facility. Throughout our nation, plants of this age are being retired and we continued to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.
       3. Top three goals. 1) Infrastructure. We must first handle our stormwater issue before the EPA fines and the lawsuits accumulate to more money than what it would cost us to begin to fix the problem. We also need to continue the work to fix the roads and work to improve our police to population ratio.
       2) Grow and diversify our economy. Not just grow our economy, but diversify it. We can not continue to rely on the federal government to dictate our economic fortunes. We must also keep our relationship with the DoD strong, while focusing on bringing new business to our great city.
       3) Jobs. Support the plan that our Chamber has created, to provide the resources that a company will need to succeed. Create an environment that retains and captures our youth, so we have the most important resource the people to fill those jobs with.

(Posted 3/13/17; Politics: City/County)

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