Editor's note: Westside Pioneer's Q/A with City Council candidatesDistricts 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 3, incumbent Keith King is stepping down after four years. Two candidates hope to be elected to his seat: Chuck Fowler and Richard Skorman.
The Pioneer submitted the same questions to both D-3 candidates. The article below consists of the Pioneer questions to and written responses from Fowler. For Skorman's responses to the Pioneer questions, go to this link.
Note: For District 1, Greg Basham's Q/A is at this link; and and Don Knight's Q/A is at this link.)
The D-3 questions were:
1. Problems with transient people – including illegal camps, drug use, vandalism and thefts – continue to confront residents and business owners on the Westside. As a City Councilmember, how would you approach this issue?
2. What is the best approach for the Drake power plant??
3. Do you favor legalizing recreational marijuana and cannabis clubs in Colorado Springs – both of which have been made illegal by the current City Council?
4. What priority should be set for fixing the fire-damaged Bancroft Park bandshell?
5. What are the top three goals you hope to accomplish if elected?
Q/A: City Council District 3 candidate
Family: Widower, with one daughter.
Years in District 3: 4 1/2.
Career: President of HOAreports.com.
1. Transients. Mayor Suthers works with a group of churches called CityServe. I believe this is a way of addressing homelessness.
In the short term, the city can’t shrink back from protecting private and public property, as well as the safety of its citizens. I support ordinances that protect property rights – it’s not all about civil liberties – and strong and effective policing of homeless camps and compounds.
2. Drake power plant. Everybody agrees Drake is an eyesore. It’s good we have a decommission date to work with. The citizens need to know if the Neumann scrubbers are working and we are meeting EPA clean-air requirements. The electric load for downtown needs to be replaced prior to any discussions about closing Drake before 2035.
3. Marijuana. I sense that the legalization of marijuana has increased homeless populations, especially in Council District 3. Is there a connection between marijuana and overwhelming panhandling? Has crime increased? Have traffic accidents gone up? Are we attracting criminal elements who thrive within the cracks of legal grows and distributors? If there are negative trends that can be linked to marijuana, our community and its leadership need to decide if this industry is causing more problems then we are capable of solving.
In the meantime, City Serveis another example of a private initiative that reduces stress on government services.
4. Bancroft bandshell. I don’t know what it would cost to repair the damage. I’m a fan of Territory Days and certainly want to see this year’s event be a success – I’m sure it will be, regardless of the damage.
I would favor making repairs if the city has the funds to do it – again based on total cost. How about a Go Fund Me campaign as a backup?
5. Top three goals. 1) A more efficient city government – General Fund revenues are scarce, as the money available for city services comes primarily from sales taxes. When the economy is down, so to is the capability to provide top-tier police and fire protection. Public-private partnerships are an emerging strategy to fund public needs, including infrastructure.
2) A dedicated funding source for stormwater. Poor political decisions of past councils have put the community in a very difficult situation. If we are to benefit from the use of our $850M SDS water system, we must find a dedicated source of funding to pay for infrastructure, especially stormwater improvements.
3) A dedicated revenue source for park maintenance and recreation services. Our natural and beautiful setting is our greatest asset. Yet the city funding is not sufficient. I favor a community dialogue, followed by action to spin off the parks department into its own park district.
(Posted 3/13/17, updated 5/1/17; Politics: City/County)