Questioning the Mayor/City Council candidates
Responses from Carpenter, D. Martin, Gallagher, Null, Purvis, Small
Ballots have been mailed out to Colorado Springs registered voters for the municipal election. There are four mayoral candidates and nine City Council candidates for
four at-large seats. Ballots must be mailed back to the city by April 3.
The Westside Pioneer asked the same two questions of each candidate and gave each a total of 200 words to respond. Responses ran in the March 15 Pioneer for Mike Coletta - mayor; and Jan Martin, Tom Harold, Bernie Herpin (an appointed incumbent council member), and Greg Timm - council.
At this week's deadline we had received responses from Tony Carpenter - mayor; and Dave Martin, Tom Gallagher (incumbent), Bob Null, Randy Purvis (incumbent), and Larry Small (incumbent) - council.
The questions are as follows
1. If elected, what will you specifically do (if anything) to convince CDOT to reduce the size of the Westside Highway 24 expansion?
2. What makes you so sure that you can lead this city anywhere?
1. Highway 24: First and foremost, we need to show the state we know what we’re doing. We need to synchronize our lights; we need our repaved roads to last 8 to 10 years, not 3 as we are getting now. We need better access to and from our city streets. We need more traffic officers on the road, and fewer speed traps, to help the flow of traffic. With these improvements CDOT would be more apt to listen to us, for we will show them we know what we are doing. As of now, we are being led by the clueless.
2. Leadership: I have more knowledge of what is going on in the city from the employees; they trust me. I owe no one except the taxpayers for their votes. I have no conflict of interest.
1. Highway 24: I would do the best I could to work with the legislative contingency, CDOT, and neighborhood groups to come up with a solution that is acceptable for all involved. I have an excellent relationship with Westside legislators and, if elected, would work with those legislators to put pressure on CDOT to consider all alternatives. City Council needs to not only advocate at the local level for our city, but also at the state and national level. Each area of government has a significant impact on our city.
2. Leadership: I believe many are looking for strong leadership in the city. I believe the job of any newly elected official is to listen to all interested parties regarding an issue and provide a new perspective. Second, I believe my leadership skills have been proven in my current position as president of the Falcon School Board. It is the fastest growing district in El Paso County, but we have consistently provided an excellent education, good pay and benefits for our teachers, and I personally have negotiated more than $10 million in voluntary contributions from builders and developers for new schools and athletic facilities.
1. Highway 24: As a home rule municipality, we do have some control over the portions of a state highway that lie inside our corporate limits. The city should have already taken a hard stance on what design options CDOT could consider. Adopting the Westside Pioneer’s “Do No Harm” position, as the design criteria baseline, is where I’d start. Then drawing upon the talent and creative character of my fellow Westsiders, we put forward our own engineering design. It just doesn’t make sense to continue allowing the CDOT engineers to have total control over the design considerations.
2. Leadership: I start from the position that Colorado Springs has its own, unique, identity. I’m tired of watching people try to remake our city in the image of somewhere else. Our history is one of having the audacity for self-determination and the will to make things happen. In 1871, a surveyor decided to build a city in a place no “expert” would ever choose; in 1900, this city was acknowledged as the most affluent and prosperous place in the world. That is the foundation of our city, and we should be building upon it instead of ignoring it. The question is not can I lead; but will you follow?
1. Highway 24: The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is recommending expanding Highway 24 from I-25 to past 21st Street as an elevated freeway-type east-west thoroughfare with new, larger interchanges for north-south traffic. CDOT has projected 2035 east-west vehicle traffic flow. I need to get a whole lot more data, but meanwhile I will challenge the PPACG numbers, nail down CDOT’s present architecture (bypasses, etc), push our greenway committee recommendation, push for our idea of the waterway architecture and require an environmental study and report for public review. I will get our local state legislature representatives behind our concerns and our recommendations.
2. Leadership: I spent 35 years in the Air Force and held four commands – My successes were due to the coalitions I built among my peers (airman, NCO, junior officer and colonel). I have lots of experience and knowledge of program management, budgets, and solving contentious issues by teamwork and participatory leadership. I have learned about our city government and its underpinnings – 10 volunteer citizen commissions and committees. I will have one or two areas of the city to champion and build the teamwork to make it happen.
1. Highway 24: As I have been, I will continue to work with the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) on this matter. I think OWN is on the right track by questioning the traffic counts. As the 2035 traffic projections are finalized, all interested parties must closely examine them to insure they are accurate. If the traffic counts are overstated, there may be no real need for this project.
2. Leadership: I have experience on council and have established a track record of working well with both neighborhoods and business interests. More important than a candidate's position on any specific issue are the values and principals on which we base our decisions. These are some of mine: First, I stand for open government - the public's business must be done in public. I successfully changed city policy to release city auditor's reports. When everyone else on council was willing to close council meetings and require citizens to sign in to attend a council meeting, I successfully fought the policy change. Second, I strive to do the greatest good for the greatest number, while respecting the rights of the individual. Government is not here to serve special interests, but to achieve the common good.
1. Highway 24: Sallie Clark and I have been working with neighborhood members to review CDOT’s planning and to assist in having alternative design considerations evaluated. As members of the PPACG board, we are overseeing PPACG’s 2035 regional traffic forecast to make sure it is accurate and reflects the socioeconomic realities of the Westside. We believe that we will ultimately reach a design that will accomodate neighborhood and traffic needs.
2. Leadership: I have involved myself in a leadership role in many issues facing the city – transportation, as a member of the PPACG board and chair of the PPRTA board; low income housing, as a Housing Authority commissioner: safe buildings and housing, as a Regional Building commissioner: downtown, as co-chair of Imagine Downtown and as vice chair of the Downtown Development Authority Board: arts and culture, as a member of the Imagination Celebration Leadership Committee: water, as a member of the Fountain Creek Visioning Committee and vice chair of the Utility Board; and statewide issues affecting municipalities, as a member of the Colorado Municipal League Executive Board. I will continue to lead efforts for public safety, economic development, capital infrastructure, education, a sustainable water supply and renewable energy and to support the needs of our quality of life.
Westside Pioneer article