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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 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 Skorman. For Fowler'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
Richard Skorman

Courtesy of Richard Skorman
       Age: 64.
       Family: Married.
       Years in District 3: 38.
       Career: Former City Councilmember (two terms) and vice mayor, regional director for Senator Ken Salazar; co-owner of Poor Richards/Little Richards/Ricos..

       1. Transients. I wish there was a one-size-fits-all solution. I am not a fan of concentrating so many cannabis businesses on the Westside. We should try to control them with new-license renewals.
       We need to pressure the Salvation Army to loosen their arduous restrictions so more shelter beds can be made available.
       I would help lead a campaign to “not give to panhandlers” through local businesses and direct them to available resources instead.
       When we free more funding for police once we get stormwater funding out of the General Fund, I will push for more policing of camps and mobile mental health units through AspenPointe.
       2. Drake power plant. We need to push to retire it and take down its footprint much sooner than 2035, particularly with the potential expense of new lawsuits. To mitigate potential short-term increases to ratepayers, we need to sell our surplus SDS water to water districts outside our service territory. Drake is not only a huge eyesore for the new Olympic Hall of Fame and Cimarron interchange, it’s an impediment to creating an arts district, more affordable housing and a water-park amenity at the confluence of Fountain and Monument Creeks. It also presents a negative image for millennials and entrepreneurs who would like to move here from the increasingly congested and expensive North Front Range.
       3. Marijuana. I think we should get revenue from recreational sales and devote to public safety and disperse the concentration away from the Westside. It’s legal anyhow, in the Colorado Constitution, and won’t go away easily now that voters made the Constitution more difficult to change and recreational marijuana users from across the city are flocking to Manitou and driving stoned through the Westside or hanging out. We need a way to not concentrate them.
       4. Bancroft bandshell. Yes. It’s really important. I would try to find the money to fix it before the summer.
       5. Top three goals. 1) Create a fire, flood and landslide district for our wildland urban interface to keep residents and businesses safe in the future.
       2) Find dedicated funding and partners to maintain our parks and create a system of greenways to connect to Ring the Peak, the Cheyenne Mountain Heritage Trail, the Chamberlain Trail, the Fountain Creek Greenway and the other open space parks on the Westside. Without a huge investment, we could be one of the most off-road bicycle friendly cities in the nation. This will be a huge economic driver.
       3) Get stormwater funding out of the General Fund so that necessary resources can be put into police and fire personnel. Fourteen-minute Priority 1 response times for police are unacceptable, as is losing so many officers we have trained to other departments.

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

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