Localworks Candidate Questionnaire 2017

As a non-profit organization advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community, many items in public policy directly impact Localworks’ mission. As a service to our members and also available to the public on our website, we ask candidates about their qualifications and positions on public policy. The candidates were emailed the questions on Sept 12 with our promise to publish what we received on Sept 28. We compile the information by office up for election and publish answers exactly as we receive them. This questionnaire gives candidates some more room to express themselves and their ideas. Localworks does not make any endorsements.

Response from Candidate for Mayor William “Bud” Starker

1. Why are you the best candidate to represent the city as Mayor?  Please relate your answer to your background, qualifications, values, and the needs of the city. What do you see as the role of the Mayor? How do you plan to fulfill this role?

Wheat Ridge city government is a Council-City Manager form of government with a mayor who presides over the meetings of the City Council and votes only in the case of a tie.  The essential attributes for this position are a strong foundation in parliamentary procedures and a dedication to fairness.  I received my bachelor’s degree with a major in political science which has given me a background in basic government structures and I have a working knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order under which the Council meetings operate.  My background includes eight years as a public member of the State Board for Architects, Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors, two years as chairman.  In addition to being the meeting chair, this role also required quasi-judicial hearings on disciplinary matters affecting professionals in these professions.   I was responsible to be prepared on the cases and the procedures required to conduct a fair hearing.  I believe that that the most important role the Mayor performs in his/her official capacity is to conduct the council meetings with impartiality and respect for the Councilors and citizens who appear in council chambers.  The Mayor must ensure order in the proceedings and the reality and perception of fairness cannot be overstated.

The more informal, but no less important, role of the Mayor in our City is in the role of Leadership.  The Mayor should represent the best aspects of the City, be of high moral character, and be available to represent the City in a variety of situations, both within and outside of the City.  Many of my formative years were spent in the Boy Scouts, where I became an Eagle Scout, and was steeped in leadership and respect for process.   In my professional career as a business owner and leader I have had the opportunity to be the president and chairman of my professional association, as well as numerous volunteer boards.  I am in the process of retiring from my construction career and will have more time available to serve as Mayor.  I have been active in local and state government over the years and would look forward to representing Wheat Ridge to the broader community outside of our City.

2. What do you think is the most important issue facing Wheat Ridge over the next two years and how would you propose to address it?

I believe the most important issue facing Wheat Ridge is maintaining economic growth and financial stability.  Wheat Ridge is growing, spurring development in retail and job creation, which is good for our city’s financial health.  We must continue to ensure that growth benefits all our citizens, builds partnerships between existing and new businesses, creates a common vision for Wheat Ridge and maintains our unique charm and small-town feel.

3. What are your top two policy goals, why, and how should they be addressed?

My top two policy goals are ensuring safe and secure neighborhoods and fostering our small-town feel. Wheat Ridge is a safe place to live, but we have neighborhoods in transition.  To maintain the quality of life we enjoy, I will enhance neighborhood watch programs and promote police-community communication.  I believe safety and security is enhanced by familiarity with your neighbors so I will create forums where citizens can actively engage with the common goal of promoting safety.

4. Would you support the current 3-lane configuration and investment in permanent amenity zone enhancements to complement road design as laid out in the adopted 38th Avenue Corridor Plan.  Why or why not?

I support the goals outlined in the Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy which identify West 38th Avenue between Sheridan and Wadsworth as having the potential to be redeveloped into a neighborhood-serving retail Main Street.  A successful Main Street location will provide a sense of identity for residents of Wheat Ridge and will foster retail and service providers who bring needed jobs and sales tax revenue to our city.  The successful redevelopment of this area will require more collaboration and consensus building with a wide variety of stakeholders, from current and future property owners, local business, civic and community groups, and will be impacted by the reconstruction of Wadsworth Boulevard to the west and the allocation of resources to other infrastructure in the city.

5. How would you support the funding of economic and community revitalization in the City of Wheat Ridge, including the general fund? (Disclosure: some of Localworks activities and programs are funded by the City of Wheat Ridge.)

The city has existing economic development incentives, such as the Enhanced Sales Tax Incentive Program (ESTIP), the Business Development Zone (BDZ) program, the Revitalization Incentive Program, and the Facade Plus Program, which provide matching grants and low-cost loans for commercial property owners and businesses willing to invest in their properties.  I support these programs and would work to make them more well-known and accessible to the business community.  On a larger scale, the city has the resources of the Urban Renewal Authority, the Housing Authority, access to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and the city’s economic development office.  As mayor, I would actively engage with new and existing property owners and businesses to cooperate more fully and utilize these tools to revitalize our commercial business districts.  I intentionally use the plural, “business districts,” because the overall economic health of our city must not be limited to one area, but extend citywide.

6. What have you done to support Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community?

Wheat Ridge is a vital and vibrant community filled with active citizens engaging in a wide range of cultural, intellectual and active pursuits – just spend a few minutes in front of the WR Recreation Center on Kipling in the morning!  I support seniors by working to create options which allow them to remain in their homes longer; foster intergenerational programs to create stronger bonds within our families; and work to provide safe and secure neighborhoods that encourage neighbors to get to know and interact with one another.  We have taken strides with our municipal energy use to increase our sustainability but have more we can do.  I would advocate for a community-based recycling center; investigate neighborhood composting strategies; and encourage the work of the Sustainability Committee.

7. A healthy business environment requires a reliable electric grid, robust fiber network, and infrastructure such as water and sanitation pipework. In your view what is the role of the city in engaging with special districts and utility providers on the requirements of development and planning for the future?

The City needs to have robust integration with utility providers providing service to our city.  Our Planning and Public Works Departments must have a clear understanding of the capabilities of these firms to provide service for future developments and have established firm lines of communications to enable them to coordinate future development needs.  Success in the development arena will depend upon advanced planning to ensure that capacity is available; mapping and GPS data is up to date; and the delivery of utility infrastructure is predictable and dependable.

8. The largest portion of revenue for the City of Wheat Ridge is sales tax. How would you help Wheat Ridge thrive as more consumer spending shifts to services and delivery over retail goods purchased in local stores?

I believe that the successful redevelopment of our city’s economy will be generated by smaller, one-of-a kind retailers and personal service providers.  I will be an advocate of “Live Local, Buy Local” and work with residents and the business community to clearly articulate the dependency we have on one another.  I believe our community appreciates the value of supporting local businesses and local business will go out of their way to make the shopping experience the best possible.

9. If you are elected, during your term the City of Wheat Ridge will celebrate 50 years since incorporation. What will you do to position the city for the next 50 years?

We will celebrate 50 years as a city in two years.  I believe we should recognize and celebrate this accomplishment.  Let’s take pride in our history, producing an historical account of the land our forefathers found here; our beginnings as a farming community; recounting the development of our roads, houses and neighborhoods; the influences and impetus which led to cityhood; our progress through the first 50 years and where we believe we are today.  Then, let us look clear-eyed to the future and set a vision.  Let us as a city together develop the plans, set the goals, and make ready for those who come after us.

Thank you,

Bud Starker

Response from Candidate for City Council District 1 Janeece Hoppe

1. Why are you the best candidate to represent your district?  Please relate your answer to your background, qualifications, values, and the needs of your district.

In 2015 I applied and was appointed to finish Mr. DiTullio’s term due to him being elected as City Treasurer, I have been honored to serve Wheat Ridge and Dist 1 for the last two years. While I have been serving the community I have called on my background in construction and business management many times. Specifically I worked on a *“Bulk Plain Ordinance” to protect the quality and integrity of our neighborhoods. I believe that District One is growing and changing with more people crossing Denver at the Sheridan boarder, it is important that we do this growing and changing but not at the cost of the character of our community.

*Bulk Plain regulates how much of the air space you can build in, in R1C and R3 zoned lots the bulk plain starts at 15 feet above the property line set back requirement and then continues in a 45 degree angle across the property.

2. What do you think is the most important issue facing Wheat Ridge over the next two years and how would you propose to address it?

I think our most important issue for the next two years is revenue generation through economically viable commercial areas, building a strong and diverse sales tax base, and we are already in several processes to address it. With the fortunate passing of 2E for half a penny sales tax raise, now called Fund 31, we are able to address two specific areas of infill development that will help us grow our business base and in turn our sales tax revenue. What we need to do now is to continue to support not only these projects but all of our commercial areas. We have programs in place with the Wheat Ridge Business District and Localworks to help business and property owners invest in updating and upgrading.  With a larger generation of revenue we will be able to address other important issues such as the ones identified by the **DIRT Taskforce in July of 2016, and the ADA Transition Plan.

** City Council appointed a new Drainage, Infrastructure, Roads and Trails (D.I.R.T.) Task Force to review and prioritize a list of unfunded infrastructure projects that were originally reviewed and prioritized by the 2007 D.I.R.T. Task Force. The unfunded projects total more than $150 million and consist of parks, trails and recreation; roadway and streetscape; power line undergrounding; storm sewer/drainage improvements; facility improvements; information technology and land banking

3. What are your top two policy goals, why, and how should they be addressed?

We need to make Public Safety a priority, by supporting the Police Department with their man power needs for pro active patrolling and code enforcement. Also, by addressing the accessibility needs in our community we can create and maintain an attractive and inviting community for all residents, all generations.

We need to diversify our housing options, we need more “move up” size and priced housing, we also need more quality affordable housing. We can address this by updating our NRS, continuing the ADU conversations, and pro actively looking at our zoning and building codes. We also need to address the storm water and drainage issues many of our neighborhoods have.

4. Would you support the current 3-lane configuration and investment in permanent amenity zone enhancements to complement road design as laid out in the adopted 38th Avenue Corridor Plan.  Why or why not?

To be very direct and to the point, I support 3 lanes on 38th ave, I support amenity zones & community gathering places, and I support safe walking, biking, & vehicle passage on 38th. I also agree with the vision statement from the adopted 38th Avenue Corridor Plan, “West 38th Avenue between Sheridan and Wadsworth is a safe, vibrant and diverse corridor in Wheat Ridge with a strong identity and robust commercial and residential markets. The corridor has identifiable sub-districts with its Main Street being a source of community pride and a primary destination for city residents and visitors. In the year 2030, people of all ages and abilities live, work, learn, shop, and play along 38th Avenue.” In 2016, I worked closely with the city attorney and staff, city treasurer, and other city council members to come to a plan that incorporated the values that came from the community during the Create 38 public process at a reasonable price tag. Although it didn’t have quite enough support to get it on the ballot, it was a good plan and I have no intention to just abandon it forever.

5. How would you support the funding of economic and community revitalization in the City of Wheat Ridge, including the general fund? (Disclosure: some of Localworks activities and programs are funded by the City of Wheat Ridge.)

I support the work of Localworks in the areas of economic and community revitalization, I would like to see a few new programs added to the playbook for Localworks. Housing  has been in the wheelhouse of Localworks since its inception, I would like to see some programs that help with diversifying our housing options, down payment assistance, and helping homeowners update their homes with environmentally friendly upgrades. However the City of WR cannot fund all of them, but we can help when Localworks applies for different grants, and we can keep our ear to the ground so to speak, for any opportunity in this area. Until then we need to continue to support the work of Localworks, what they bring into our community, the social capital gained in our community is important.

6. What have you done to support Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community?

I am one of the three founding members of Live Local, a program of Localworks. Our first Live Local program was Live Local Dines, our vision was to get the residents of Wheat Ridge to spend more time and more of their money in Wheat Ridge, and it has been successful. I am also a part of the following organizations as a volunteer, 2011-2015- Localworks; Construction Committee, Treasurer, Vice President, President, 2011- Current- Wheat Ridge Business District; Board Member,2012-Current- The Family Tree; Development Committee,2014 – Current- WRHS POMs Treasurer

7. A healthy business environment requires a reliable electric grid, robust fiber network, and infrastructure such as water and sanitation pipe work. In your view what is the role of the city in engaging with special districts and utility providers on the requirements of development and planning for the future?

I think the city should be communicating on a regular basis with the special districts about what projects are going on and coming up. I do think we need to address updating our infrastructure, however we need money for that. So I support a fee to be able to raise the funds,  it could be an infrastructure fee, or a utility, or a storm water, either way I think it needs to be a flat fee. I think we should have a flat fee for residential single family, residential multifamily and commercial. I think the commercial should depend on the size of the property and be a scale, smaller properties pay less, larger pay more. I believe a flat fee instead of a formula like an *ERU that is set by city council give us the opportunity and control to keep the fee reasonable. We all love our small local owned business, we need to keep an environment that they can afford and thrive in, an ERU could make that difficult for some due to the way that most commercial rental properties are leased with a triple net contract.

*Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) The measure of impervious surface for a typical single family residential property. 1 ERU is equal to ______ square feet of impervious area.

8. The largest portion of revenue for the City of Wheat Ridge is sales tax. How would you help Wheat Ridge thrive as more consumer spending shifts to services and delivery over retail goods purchased in local stores?

I think it is important for Wheat Ridge to have a variety of sales tax generators, building an inclusive community will allow our citizens to spend their money in our community and not have to go to the surrounding areas to fill the purchasing needs for their families. While delivery over retail is growing I don’t believe it will completely replace it.

9. If you are elected, during your term the City of Wheat Ridge will celebrate 50 years since incorporation. What will you do to position the city for the next 50 years?

Our available land and space in the community is limited, and therefore the uses that are approved through zoning and code of laws must have balance. An example, when city council looked at code of laws for self storage units in September 2016, the council approved changes to the code of laws that in essence limited the areas where a self storage could be built. When we looked at how many self storage units that not only were in Wheat Ridge, but also just across our borders to other communities we found that Wheat Ridge had available storage per person higher than the national average. So, we need to be careful on what we “spend” our land on, and be proactive in our zoning and code of laws.

Response from Candidate for City Council District 3 Tim Fitzgerald

1. Why are you the best candidate to represent your district?  Please relate your answer to your background, qualifications, values, and the needs of your district.

I moved to Wheat Ridge as a child in 1945.  I went thru school here and was in the first class to complete a full year at the “new” high school; graduating in 1959.

My goal in my second term in council is the same as it was for my first term.  I want to guide our city as it undergoes the inevitable changes that will come our way as our metropolitan area grows and we face a new reality due to climate change and energy transformation.  Wheat Ridge did not aged well.  Up until recently the prevailing wisdom was “do nothing”.  In the recent years the city began to take action to rid us of blight and vacant buildings.  I will do what I can to keep making Wheat Ridge a better place to live for us and for our children.

2. What do you think is the most important issue facing Wheat Ridge over the next two years and how would you propose to address it?

We need to strive to improve the quality of our shopping resources.  We need to improve the “curb appeal” of our major streets. Currently we have projects underway which have great potential to do those things.  I will encourage private investment in the properties adjacent to the Wadsworth Boulevard rebuild project to improve the “curb appeal” of our busiest street.  I will continue to advocate for city involvement in making the Clear Creek Crossing project a quality addition to our city.

3. What are your top two policy goals, why, and how should they be addressed?

I described my overarching goal in 1, but as a specific – our civilization is gradually moving to a more holistic transportation model where quality of life is paramount and a variety of movement methods are available.  That includes walking, biking, public transportation all available as well as automobiles.  The key however is a people centered community rather than a car centered community.  The world is moving that way; our children are moving that way; we must guide the transition in a way that improves life for all of us.

Sidewalks along our major streets will help us achieve a healthier more pleasant means of both enjoyment and practical movement.

4. Would you support the current 3-lane configuration and investment in permanent amenity zone enhancements to complement road design as laid out in the adopted 38th Avenue Corridor Plan.  Why or why not?

I do support the current street configuration on 38th Ave.  It is a necessary part of an improvement process for 38th Ave.  Due to varying right-of-way sizes on 38th the only way to establish a people centered and attractive street is to keep that configuration. The public process that took place on the issue shows that citizens overwhelming understand the issues and support the vision of a better street.

5. How would you support the funding of economic and community revitalization in the City of Wheat Ridge, including the general fund? (Disclosure: some of Localworks activities and programs are funded by the City of Wheat Ridge.)

Funding is a continual issue for Wheat Ridge.  Experience in the last 4 years shows that citizens of Wheat Ridge are not willing to support tax increases except for specified projects and with a specific ending date.  The conclusion is that we must work slowly, a step at a time, to fund improvements with existing income.  As citizens begin to see the giant improvements that are currently underway [Wheat Ridge Corners, West-end 38th] and the projects that are coming closer to visible construction [Wadsworth rebuild, the Gold Line Gateway neighborhood, Clear Creek Crossing] it may become more apparent that you have to spend money to make a better world.]

6. What have you done to support Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community?

The actions of my colleagues and I on council in the last 4 years show that most of us have worked diligently to overcome the many obstacles that were holding back renewal in our city.  The result is there.  New businesses on 38th as well as the many projects underway.    Sustainability is another issue – we have have not done well on that.  The Mayor, with the consent of Council, has appointed a very highly qualified citizen committee to study that issue.  They have made their first report to us and are continuing to work on a “next steps” document.

7. A healthy business environment requires a reliable electric grid, robust fiber network, and infrastructure such as water and sanitation pipework. In your view what is the role of the city in engaging with special districts and utility providers on the requirements of development and planning for the future?

The city does not provide water, sewer, fire service to our citizens.  Groundwater is a continual problem in our city and we have no organized method of handling groundwater in an environmentally responsible manner or in a safe manner.  Some citizens are faced with flooding every time there is a large rain or snow.  On another utility issue – high speed internet – many cities in Colorado are actively exploring a city run internet utility.  I believe that the city could supply high speed internet at a lower price and with privacy protected [not the case now].  The question with both of the above services is do citizens want it and if so, at what price?

8. The largest portion of revenue for the City of Wheat Ridge is sales tax. How would you help Wheat Ridge thrive as more consumer spending shifts to services and delivery over retail goods purchased in local stores?

Wheat Ridge and other cities must lobby hard to force online retailers to pay sales taxes.  We will die without it.

9. If you are elected, during your term the City of Wheat Ridge will celebrate 50 years since incorporation. What will you do to position the city for the next 50 years?

What will I do to position the city for it’s next 50 years – see answers 1-8.

Response from Candidate for City Council District 4 Val Nosler

1. Why are you the best candidate to represent your district?  Please relate your answer to your background, qualifications, values, and the needs of your district.

I am the best candidate for the position of City Council in the fourth district because I have extensive experience in helping Colorado communities thrive and I want to bring that experience to my hometown. My family has deep roots in Wheat Ridge. I am the fifth generation in my family to raise their kids here. I am running for City Council because I bring expertise and a fresh perspective our community needs. I am the only candidate running in District Four that has the skill set to collaborate with state agencies, special districts, neighboring communities, residents, business and other stakeholders to solve problems and get positive outcomes. I am running for council because I want to listen to what Wheat Ridge residents want and bring together great ideas to advance Wheat Ridge so that this community can thrive for generations to come.

Here is what I mean by experience; I currently work for the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) where I work on disaster recovery and community resilience engagement and outreach. Wheat Ridge needs a voice on council that is focused on our community’s resiliency. Whether Wheat Ridge and the fourth district are faced with growth, housing insecurity, economic crisis or a natural disaster, our community must bounce back.

Take for example the hailstorms in May, now is the time to learn from this storm. We know hail will impact us again…and again, let’s be the community that comes together to respond and recover faster then the time before. This will improve the everyday lives of Wheat Ridge residents, businesses, city staff, neighboring communities and our ability to get back to enjoying our great community!

Prior to my current position I worked at the Colorado Lottery as the communications manager and oversaw community relations. My job there was amazing! I was the person that got to give out big checks to winners and I also worked with proceeds beneficiaries to help share their story. The Colorado Lottery funds Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST), Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) which funds parks and recreation, trails and other recreation infrastructure needs in communities. Prior to the Lottery I worked as Colorado Department of Human Services in communications. Before that I worked on Flood Recovery in Governor Hickenlooper’s office where I helped flood and fire impacted communities build back better and more resilient, and that work continues in my current position at DOLA.

I worked as Director of Scheduling for Governor Hickenlooper and Mayor Hickenlooper. Before that I worked for Indiana Senator Evan Bayh in Washington, DC. I was the Colorado Scheduler for President Obama’s 2008 campaign. My professional career began with Congressman Mark Udall as Scheduler and Legislative Correspondent in Washington, D.C.

First I was an intern for Congressman Udall while I attended Colorado State University. Go Rams! I have a degree in Journalism/Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. I am a Territorial Daughter, which means my great great grandmother was born in Colorado before it was a state. I am on the board of the Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado. I work with LocalWorks on the Activate 38 Commission finding ways to improve our neighborhood streets. Our home was featured on the 2015 LocalWorks Mid-Century Modern Home tour! We have probably met if you did the tour. Our house has the pink flamingo bathroom!

Val Facts: I have been married to Sam Beck for almost five years; he grew up in Greenwood Village and owns his own land brokerage business. Sam and I have daughter’s Coco (1) and Thalia (3), We bought our home in Wheat Ridge in 2013. My daughter attends Sts. Peter and Paul where my mother and her five brothers and sisters all attended elementary school in the 60’s. Thalia will attend Wilmore-Davis where my dad attended elementary school! I have a 200 hour yoga teacher training certification. On Saturday’s you can find our family on Clear Creek Trail riding bikes to Prospect Park or to swim at Anderson. On Sunday’s find Sam and I at a Broncos game or Thalia and I at Young’s Market, Sprouts, Safeway, Heinies or Edwards Meats picking out what’s for dinner. In the winter we ski Winter Park and sled in our backyard.

2. What do you think is the most important issue facing Wheat Ridge over the next two years and how would you propose to address it?

Wheat Ridge is at a pivotal crossroads and must find other sources of revenue. Let’s build on the great work that has been done and grow our sales tax revenue by promoting Wheat Ridge businesses and entice new business to move here. Businesses need to know that by staying, and moving to Wheat Ridge, they are supported by the city and community.

How to address it:

  • Improve infrastructure to improve access to local businesses.
  • Wheat Ridge has great programs in place that need to grow. The Facade Plus grant program is an example of a program that works. We can grow programs that improve business facades and “new looks” by promoting the success of these grant investments.
  • Must work with stakeholders to find other ways the city can support businesses.
  • Work with regional partners, state agencies, special districts, residents and neighboring communities to find efficiencies, revenue sources and find solutions.

3. What are your top two policy goals, why, and how should they be addressed?

We must advance welcoming & safe neighborhoods with creative low cost upgrades to help keep walkers & bikers of all ages safe. These upgrades will inform permanent infrastructure improvements to make our streets safer so we can access parks, public transportation and neighborhood schools. Now is the time to create a community outreach task force to address needs for residents in our community impacted by or experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness.

Let’s support thriving business in Wheat Ridge. In District Four businesses are conveniently located near Clear Creek trail, I-70, great restaurants, shopping and Lightrail. Let’s recruit new business by showcasing all Wheat Ridge has to offer for not just retailers and restaurants but also for businesses that want to improve their employees work life balance. Wheat Ridge has great programs in place that need to grow.

4. Would you support the current 3-lane configuration and investment in permanent amenity zone enhancements to complement road design as laid out in the adopted 38th Avenue Corridor Plan.  Why or why not?

This issue comes up 50 % of the time when I talk to neighbors as I knock doors in the Fourth District. I support that Wheat Ridge moved forward with this plan. I am in support of more walk able and bike able options for our community. I also enjoy this corridor quite a bit with my family. We love RidgeFest and the outdoor movies. We need to address that for a lot of our community these changes have been a hindrance and annoyance. Council’s priority needs to be how do we increase sales revenue with all development projects while improving quality of life for residents. On Council I would work to come to a conclusion on the future of 38th Ave. We need to advance the conversation to talking about other corridors in our city like West 44th, safer crossings for everyone and dangerous intersections. With this issue, unfortunately, we are not going to make everyone happy. Wheat Ridge Government’s role and goal should be to serve residents efficiently and effectively. Let’s get to a resolution on this and get to work on what is next for Wheat Ridge.

5. How would you support the funding of economic and community revitalization in the City of Wheat Ridge, including the general fund? (Disclosure: some of Localworks activities and programs are funded by the City of Wheat Ridge.)

The City of Wheat Ridge receives a large portion of its funding for the general fund and economic and community revitalization funding through sales tax revenue. With the recent closure of Wal-Mart in Wheat Ridge and nothing currently slated to take its place, our community must find efficiencies. The city must continue to work to entice new business to Wheat Ridge while also helping existing businesses grow. We do not know when the new big sales revenue-generating retailer will move into Wheat Ridge.

In the immediate future the City must work to find efficiencies in operations. The hailstorm was hard on residents, businesses and city staff worked tirelessly. The revenue generated through the permits will help fill in some gaps in the 2018 city budget. This is where my experience in building resiliency in communities comes into play, let’s learn from this and find ways to expedite the permitting process so we can get more out of each dollar.

The city needs to work with neighboring communities, state agencies and regional organizations to find efficient ways to generate and save funds. The city has shown this works through he 911 Communications Center Regionalization program. This program has saved the city over $300,000 by working with other communities in Jefferson County to consolidate call centers. On council I will look for opportunities find efficiencies in our current budget.

6. What have you done to support Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community?

I participate in the Activate 38 Coalition that works on finding creative solutions to making our neighborhood streets safer. My home is on a major cut through to Lutheran Hospital. It is very important to my neighbors and my family that I have a voice on a solution to make the street our kids and our neighbors use to walk to the park is safe for all ages.

One of the best parts of my City Council District 4 campaign is that I have worked with my family to uncover old family photos of our farm at 45th and Wadsworth and life in Wheat Ridge area over the past 150 years. Check it out by following me (Valerie Nosler) on Facebook.

My work experience I mentioned above demonstrates the work I have done to help make Colorado communities including Wheat Ridge more vibrant, resilient and sustainable. I am committed to working together to move forward while preserving what makes Wheat Ridge great!

7. A healthy business environment requires a reliable electric grid, robust fiber network, and infrastructure such as water and sanitation pipework. In your view what is the role of the city in engaging with special districts and utility providers on the requirements of development and planning for the future?

City Council should help residents and business owners find answers to issues they are dealing with in regards to infrastructure and utilities. City staff should work with city council and bring opportunities and recommendations to the council to find solutions to these issues. On council I would do my research on trends in other communities, special districts and utility providers to see what might work in Wheat Ridge. I have seen in many communities around the state what works and what doesn’t. Leadership takes hard work on the tough issues and I lead by listening and learning to make well informed decisions.

8. The largest portion of revenue for the City of Wheat Ridge is sales tax. How would you help Wheat Ridge thrive as more consumer spending shifts to services and delivery over retail goods purchased in local stores?

The city is doing a lot to encourage existing business and working hard to bring more business in. Big box stores are becoming a thing of the past…the facts are there. But businesses are moving to Colorado for our way of life, they want happy employees. We can learn from this trend. Let’s promote that Clear Creek Trail, local food markets; great restaurants, Denver and the mountains are in our backyard! I am a little biased but I think the Fourth District is a great place for outdoor businesses! I want to grow what is being done and work creatively with businesses and residents to come up with more ways to help move Wheat Ridge business forward!

9. If you are elected, during your term the City of Wheat Ridge will celebrate 50 years since incorporation. What will you do to position the city for the next 50 years?

The Fruitdale Project should be a beacon of how development in our city should work as we head into the future. This public and private partnership nurtures our past and also takes advantage of what Wheat Ridge already has going for it (access to public transportation, trails and parks, surrounded by great local businesses, etc.)! In the Fourth District I am so excited about where things are headed. Projects like the G-Line and Ward Station will give us the opportunity to further define our community to potential new businesses. All of us in Wheat Ridge know how great it is to live and work here. There are great opportunities for existing businesses with this project and for new businesses. As this conversation and planning moves forward I have the experience of bringing ALL stakeholders together to gather input for positive outcomes. I want to help all of 44th Avenue gain steam from this project! The LightRail station will be catalyst to have bigger conversation about transportation and infrastructure in our community. This project will take years (like 30 years) to accomplish, but on City Council I will work hard to keep the community and the Fourth District informed each step of the way.

My great grandparents made Wheat Ridge their home and chose this community to build their livelihood. Now Sam and I are raising our girls here too, because Wheat Ridge is a great community. On city council I will strive to move Wheat Ridge forward together while preserving what makes our community great.

Response from Candidate for City Council District 4 Leah Dozeman*

1. Why are you the best candidate to represent your district? Please relate your answer to your background, qualifications, values, and the needs of your district.

As a lifelong resident of Wheat Ridge, that has presided in District IV for 22 of the 26 years, I have developed deep relationships with my neighbors, local businesses, and neighborhood. I have a Bachelor’s in Political Science and an Associate’s in Entrepreneurial Studies that I earned because of my interest in policy, particularly as it pertains to state and local issues and the economy. I also have a passion for education and how to ensure that every student receives a quality education that prepares them for their future. I attended Fruitdale Preschool, Pennington Elementary, and Everitt Middle school. Pennington was unexpectedly put on a closure list this last February and I worked alongside parents and community members to prevent the school from closing. We need to strengthen our neighborhood school and local economy, including attracting new businesses and business improvements in order to entice young families to buy homes here.

I have joined Pennington’s PTA as Vice-President and have committed myself to being the School Accountability Committee Chair to take a hands on approach with lifting up the school and its reputation and to understand the inner-workings of public education, how funds are allocated, and to build community/school relationships. I work as Program Director for Personal Achievement Martial Arts (PAMA), a local small business because I know that small businesses are the backbone of Wheat Ridge and PAMA gives back to the community, which coincides with my core values. I have also served as Secretary and Parade Chair for the Carnation Festival, bringing neighbors of all ages together to celebrate the city that we love!

2. What do you think is the most important issue facing Wheat Ridge over the next two years and how would you propose to address it?

As a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community and having a high percentage of renters in District IV, we have less families taking root in Wheat Ridge and thus less students in our schools. We have seen detrimental school closures within our community that has had a negative ripple effect. We need to shed our schools in a positive light, support and enhance on their strengths, and make Wheat Ridge a place that families flock to. This will promote home ownership and investment into Wheat Ridge. Diversifying our demographic will then begin to attract a variety of businesses and we will see a wonderful mixture of generations. I would propose facade improvements, walkable routes to schools, local civic engagement with schools, and continued development, particularly of the 44th Ave and Kipling area.

3. What are your top two policy goals, why, and how should they be addressed?

Pride in homeownership/investment in updating commercial properties and encouraging aesthetically pleasing improvements through current facade programs and offering micro-loans or grants to small businesses that desire to update or expand. I believe that making Wheat Ridge a destination for people to live and invest in is important. We want to attract young families to the area to strengthen our schools. I had a lot of fellow children on my block to play with and frolic on the greenbelt with and would like that for my sons.
Safe neighborhoods where neighbors look out for one another and feel secure living in. I believe setting up Neighborhood Watch Programs that include local businesses and implementing targeted crime prevention is a great way to promote strong neighborhoods that deter criminal behavior. I would like to have peace of mind allowing my child to walk/bike to school, which means safe routes and addressing community concerns such as drugs, thefts, and illegal camping. I believe that local law enforcement partnering with businesses, non-profit organizations, and neighbors will allow for us to address these issues as a united community, getting people the resources they need and allowing for everyone’s safety.

4. Would you support the current 3-lane configuration and investment in permanent amenity zone enhancements to complement road design as laid out in the adopted 38th Avenue Corridor Plan. Why or why not?

No. I believe that the majority of residents voted this down when ballot initiative 2B failed in 2014. I would promote a smaller Main Street area and a compromise of either 1) changing the street to a 4 lane configuration and reducing (and enforcing) the speed limit OR 2) continuing the streetscape plan that was used East of Harlan, all along 38th Ave. I would much rather have consistency with streetscape than argue over the number of lanes but I do agree that ADA compliant sidewalks along that area are necessary and important, as do I believe that it’s an issue that should be addressed all across the city.

5. How would you support the funding of economic and community revitalization in the City of Wheat Ridge, including the general fund? (Disclosure: some of Localworks activities and programs are funded by the City of Wheat Ridge.)

Everyone has chosen Wheat Ridge for what it is and I believe that while there is always room for improvement, we have to move forward by paying homage to what makes our city great. I first and foremost would support efforts to support small businesses, safe neighborhoods, and strong schools. I believe that these are the glue that hold our community together and when we see revitalization efforts around these pillars, we build a strong economy. I would support the continued efforts of facade improvements for local businesses. I would also like to see more support for small businesses that want to expand in the community. Continuing crime prevention efforts, encouraging Neighborhood Watch Programs, clean-up days, and connections between neighbors and with local law enforcement are all vital to safe neighborhoods. I also love the urban farming allowed within our city limits and believe that it lends to our agricultural roots while also promoting sustainability so would encourage growth within that framework.

6. What have you done to support Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community?

I have participated in the grassroots organization, Wheaties Academy that teaches residents civic leadership. With my group of Wheaties, we planned and carried out an event, “Connect 2 Creek” that highlighted the area of Lena Gulch along the Clear Creek trail and its ecological assets. We held an event that included art by local artists in the tunnel, educational opportunities, and fun activities. I have also served on the Carnation Festival Board as Secretary and Parade Chair, which plans and puts on the largest festival in the city that draws in people of all ages to celebrate our incorporation while enjoying local food, live music, a carnival, and the best part…friends and neighbors. The Carnation Parade showcases businesses, schools, and service organizations within our community and the metro area. I have been honored to Chair such a community tradition.

7. A healthy business environment requires a reliable electric grid, robust fiber network, and infrastructure such as water and sanitation pipework. In your view what is the role of the city in engaging with special districts and utility providers on the requirements of development and planning for the future?

If it’s for public projects or code enforcement, then it is within their purview. When it comes to forcing businesses to adhere to extravagant red tape to comply with the city’s desired improvements, I begin to find an issue with government overreach. Planning for the future and being updated is a great goal to have and the city should be able to work with special districts but I believe the requirements of those districts for development projects is sufficient enough without adding additional guidelines.

8. The largest portion of revenue for the City of Wheat Ridge is sales tax. How would you help Wheat Ridge thrive as more consumer spending shifts to services and delivery over retail goods purchased in local stores?

I would promote an increase of Arts and Entertainment businesses within our area. Unique, quality experiences and service are still in demand. People are opting more for traveling and dining out. I think it would be wise to attract family friendly restaurants, tourist experiences, and lodging that offers a short commute to Denver or the Rocky Mountains, with the quiet serenity of a small town. We have a lot to build on in Wheat Ridge!

9. If you are elected, during your term the City of Wheat Ridge will celebrate 50 years since incorporation. What will you do to position the city for the next 50 years?

My parents have lived here 26 years and plan to retire here. I also plan to stay in Wheat Ridge and most likely retire here. The future, however, belongs in the hands of the next generation that comes of age. I plan to position this city as one that has strong, quality schools, which provide opportunities for students, no matter their background. I plan for Wheat Ridge to be an inclusive community comprised of multi generations that choose to live, work, and play within its boundaries as much as possible because there is no place like home.

*Received September 28

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