© 2018 by All In Denver. 

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Q1

The lack of affordable housing remains a top concern of Denver residents, and while we commend the city on increasing resources, more needs to be done. If you agree that more resources are needed to support affordable housing, what type of funds and how much are necessary to address this crisis, and how could you achieve this within the next two to three years? 

I support $30 million from the general fund toward housing. I believe property owners have the palate for an additional $15/yr property tax assuming it goes toward affordable housing. We should also hire a reputable process improvement consulting firm to analyze our full development lifecycle including permitting, construction, etc, to create efficiencies and a level playing field for all new development that includes affordable housing requirements within 1 block of the development. Rental prices have increased 80% in 9 years, so a housing bond also makes sense to speed implementation.

 

Q2

Transit and mobility remain a top city priority without a dedicated local source of funding. Would you support creating a dedicated source of annual funding for citywide investments in transit, mobility and Vision Zero safety improvements, and if yes, how much money do you think is needed to properly address this need, how would you allocate these funds and how would you propose to fund this?

 

Yes. Vision Zero is going the wrong way – we had more pedestrian deaths and serious injuries from cars in 2018 than we did in 2017. We’re also a growing city – 200k people are moving here by 2040, and they’ll likely bring another 200k cars with them. We must move beyond the car and focus on people moved per hour, not cars. Sidewalks alone at estimated at $1b for a full fix, but that’s because we’ve ignored the issue as a city for 70 years. I propose we fund it by implementing the Chris Hinds Act in Denver, and that brings an estimated $41m/yr additional funding for access and equity.

 

Q3

In the November 2018 election, Denver voters approved a sales tax to increase the yearly investment in parks by more than $40 million. How would you ensure that acquiring land for new parks is done in an equitable way and does not compete with other pressing city priorities, such as acquiring land for affordable housing? 

 

Sierra Club reports that 84% of Denver residents have access to a park within a 10 minute walk. We should make that 100%, esp since the areas without access currently are generally in underserved neighborhoods (G-E-S, Sunnyside, Westwood). First priority is to achieve 100% access, and second priority could be to consider locations next to affordable housing locations to maximize equity. Another consideration is the master plan and how to connect our city’s parks, and perhaps strategic land purchases can create a better, more complete, city park network

 

Q4 

All In Denver was formed to respond to concerns that racial and social inequity is growing in the city. What do you think are the reasons that we have become a less equitable city and what are your priorities for ensuring Denver becomes more equitable in the future?

 

Some organizations would dispute the word “become” and would say that Denver has a long history of social and racial inequity. We have a neighborhood named after a former Mayor with Klan ties. I was named a “Champion” by Colorado Black Women for Political Action, and my answers regarding equity factored into that award. We should seek out workers from the community to build within the community, we should encourage employee owned businesses through preferential lending and other incentives in historically “redlined” areas. We all need access to success, in particular those who have been held back. (Redline: https://denverite.com/2018/11/16/new-exhibit-highlights-the-explicitly-racist-policies-of-the-past-that-still-shape-todays-denver/ , CBWPA: http://www.cbwpa.org/2019-candidate-questionnaires/ )

 

Q5

Running a city the size of Denver is a massive undertaking with a complex web of services, departments, budgets and trade-offs. From your understanding of the city and how it allocates its resources, are there areas of the city that you’d increase funding and if so, what are they? And likewise, are there areas of the city where you’d decrease funding?

 

Government is notorious for being a late adopter of technology. That said, there are a few Denver initiatives that embrace technology, and Denver could be a model city in its use of technology. As one example, I’d like to see increased funding for and use of technology to help move people from A to B and increased technology to prioritize transit of emergency services. I’d also like to see Denver partner with Colorado on blockchain adoption in areas like inventory management, voting access/security, and others. Let’s help Denver embrace technology, and my computer science degree can help!

 

Q6

Let’s assume that the City of Denver ends the 2019 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $20 million. As a Councilmember or Mayor, please list up to three program priorities on how you would spend this money. Please provide specific line items and budget amounts.

 

First, I want to fully fund the Broadway re-envisioning project with $10m. This project could be a model for all future transit corridors, and Denver could learn from the successes and pain points in this project. It installs a two-way bike lane protected by urban canopy, has a dedicated bus lane, and clearly identifies crosswalks, bus/bike lanes, and sidewalks. I’d place the remainder on enriching a pedestrian and bike network that connects downtown to Cherry Creek, making it easier to access both without cars.

 

 

 

 

Wayne New

Q1

The lack of affordable housing remains a top concern of Denver residents, and while we commend the city on increasing resources, more needs to be done. If you agree that more resources are needed to support affordable housing, what type of funds and how much are necessary to address this crisis, and how could you achieve this within the next two to three years?

 

Thanks to All in Denver’s persevering leadership to obtain additional City funds to raise $100M+ bond, accelerating construction through AHO/CHP.  

 

Funding allocation: 0 - 30% AMI units require specialized services so our incredible providers should receive funds w/ DHA.  Developers can manage 40- 60% and 80%+ AMI levels, but may need incentives to encourage actual construction and not just pay linkage fees.

 

City fund supported projects may need to be incentivized to create affordable units, ideally with greater flexibility in locations, especially for 0 - 30% AMI units that may hinder development. A glut of market rate units may lower prices for younger workers & downsizing seniors.

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Q2

Transit and mobility remain a top city priority without a dedicated local source of funding. Would you support creating a dedicated source of annual funding for citywide investments in transit, mobility and Vision Zero safety improvements, and if yes, how much money do you think is needed to properly address this need, how would you allocate these funds and how would you propose to fund this?

 

A variety in transit modalities is needed – light rail, RBT, micro, bikes, etc. A recent Cherry Creek/Civic Center Station/Downtown micro transit connection is being studied, as well as routes connecting Downtown, neighborhoods, Union Station & DEN. A systematic re-evaluation of existing bus routes may improve efficiency and increase bus use.

 

Entering office I proposed a development impact fee program for new construction to generate revenue with a potential focus on transportation. Similar cities generate $75 to $100M per year.  Without this program, I estimate the City has lost $50 to $100M per year. The $100M shortfall of revenue for the Colfax’s BRT clearly indicates our revenue problem and need.

 

Q3

In the November 2018 election, Denver voters approved a sales tax to increase the yearly investment in parks by more than $40 million. How would you ensure that acquiring land for new parks is done in an equitable way and does not compete with other pressing city priorities, such as acquiring land for affordable housing?

 

Funds will be spent on new parks not existing deferred maintenance. Parks & Rec will manage a 5-yr plan that must have significant public participation to ensure the best possible uses. “Pocket parks,” conceived to blend new construction with park space, are being tried by some cities which may not produce satisfactory results..

 

Park Hill is a good test of the competition between parks and affordable housing. Significant acreage portends a win-win situation, if the public has direct input on final design decisions. If City leadership can truly partner with affected communities, positive results are possible. I fear a continuing lack of trust by the public which will have to be addressed.

 

Q4

All In Denver was formed to respond to concerns that racial and social inequity is growing in the city. What do you think are the reasons that we have become a less equitable city and what are your priorities for ensuring Denver becomes more equitable in the future?

 

With the high cost of land and property taxes many of our affordable neighborhood residents are being forced out.  The 2017 GO Bond used equity for capital allocations, the new Blueprint Denver addresses equity and densification to promote increased housing and affordability, and City Council is approving accessory dwelling units in some areas of the city.  

 

Many neighborhoods are using design overlays to protect neighborhood character, control development, and maintain affordability. Land banking has been discussed with little progress to date.  OED has studied gentrification but the market will prevail. Until a transportation system is developed, sprawl and congestion will surely affect equity.

 

Q5

 

Running a city the size of Denver is a massive undertaking with a complex web of services, departments, budgets and trade-offs. From your understanding of the city and how it allocates its resources, are there areas of the city that you’d increase funding and if so, what are they? And likewise, are there areas of the city where you’d decrease funding?

 

Managing hospital cost is very similar to City costs. Both having operating budgets of 65 to 70% labor costs. More aggressive productivity goals and standard could product significant labor cost saving.  Also, there has to be a more rigorous monitoring of departmental performance and the achievement of departmental goals that are aligned with City goals.

 

I conducted a review of our city budget process and the results were quite disappointing. Some department do monitor performance with workload statistics rather than focusing on efficiency and effectiveness. With 12,000 employees, there was not a single use of the word - "productivity" - in the entire 2018 city budget. Use a zero based budget.

 

Q6

Let’s assume that the City of Denver ends the 2019 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $20 million. As a Councilmember or Mayor, please list up to three program priorities on how you would spend this money. Please provide specific line items and budget amounts.

 

(1) A review of city operations by a top consulting firm could produce cost savings. Evaluations with a $5/$10 savings to $1 consulting cost ratio have produced $25 to 50 million in cost savings.

 

(2) The police evaluate performance related to crime statistics but do not factor in manpower needed to monitor and control traffic and violations. Increasing each precinct with 5 officers and 5 civilian traffic staff of $3 to $4M would give a combination of crime prevention, analysis, and traffic control.

 

(3) Maintaining our streets, sidewalks, curbs, waste water, and other infrastructure is critical, and the entire $20 million could be allocated to Public Works and may not make a significant difference.

 

 

Chris Hinds 

Q1

The lack of affordable housing remains a top concern of Denver residents, and while we commend the city on increasing resources, more needs to be done. If you agree that more resources are needed to support affordable housing, what type of funds and how much are necessary to address this crisis, and how could you achieve this within the next two to three years? 

 

The “Housing an Inclusive Denver” plan and the draft 2019 Action Plan are quite comprehensive. I support the core goals of creating affordable housing in vulnerable areas, preserving affordability, promoting equitable options, stabilizing residents at risk, etc.

 

Based on a report presented at a Commission on Aging meeting (I'm an appointee) and a report by the OED, I learned of the revenue framework: increase RMJ (retail marijuana) special tax rate by 2%, dedicate proceeds to the AMF ($8m in 2019), increase annual PAYGO General fund transfer to Affordable Housing Fund AHF by $7m starting in 2019.

 

Q2

Transit and mobility remain a top city priority without a dedicated local source of funding. Would you support creating a dedicated source of annual funding for citywide investments in transit, mobility and Vision Zero safety improvements, and if yes, how much money do you think is needed to properly address this need, how would you allocate these funds and how would you propose to fund this?

 

Denver’s 2019 budget has $27million more for transportation and mobility, with a focus on bike and pedestrian infrastructure. I support the Denver Streets Partnership to dedicate sufficient and sustainable funding in the Denver Moves Plans within 20 years, which they state at current levels would take more than 100 years.

 

The October 2017 Denver Vision Zero program action plan states the establishment of a permanent funding source of $2M/year for 2018/2019, with $3M/year 2 additional FTE/year. This info was obtained at the Denver Streets Partnership policy platform meeting 2/23/19; I will look to these organizations to continue moving our transit and mobility concerns with the utmost priority.

 

Q3

In the November 2018 election, Denver voters approved a sales tax to increase the yearly investment in parks by more than $40 million. How would you ensure that acquiring land for new parks is done in an equitable way and does not compete with other pressing city priorities, such as acquiring land for affordable housing? 

 

I am an appointee to the Parks and Rec Advisory Board, and the 2019 Game Plan is rolling out as part of Denveright. The 2A $40M in funds are “an opportunity to extend legacy”. Outcomes include more accessible and activated parks with inclusive programming –including improvements for recreation centers, greenways, downtown parks and urban forest planning.

 

I will advocate for parks to be built equitably, with priority on lower income and minority neighborhoods. Housing is a high priority, and we must build parks respectively. It is vital that City Council work to support and respect our city departments hard work and expertise -- while always working to balance with personal values supporting the needs of the many.

 

Q4 

All In Denver was formed to respond to concerns that racial and social inequity is growing in the city. What do you think are the reasons that we have become a less equitable city and what are your priorities for ensuring Denver becomes more equitable in the future?

 

1. Growth – Denver is growing rapidly, and that growth has catered more towards higher income people—thus disadvantaging minority communities that have long been economically marginalized. We must ensure that new developments are spread throughout the city and that provisions are made for the building of low-income and affordable housing.

2. Transportation – Denver has a major problem in terms of accessibility to quality public transportation. Current bus routes do not cover the city equally, and the light rail system privileges people living along its limited route. We must expand Denver’s public transportation network to have more frequent buses and trains and strong route networks throughout the city.

 

Q5

Running a city the size of Denver is a massive undertaking with a complex web of services, departments, budgets and trade-offs. From your understanding of the city and how it allocates its resources, are there areas of the city that you’d increase funding and if so, what are they? And likewise, are there areas of the city where you’d decrease funding?

 

I would increase funding for transportation and mobility. It is vital that we make sure that Denver is accessible to all. Another top priority is Housing and Homelessness. Growth for the city means additional revenues to fix and build infrastructure, but currently Denver is in a state of reeling from its incredible growth. I’d like to see more emphasis catching up to our growth and investing in infrastructure than the continual investment in growing the city.

 

Q6

Let’s assume that the City of Denver ends the 2019 fiscal year with a budget surplus of $20 million. As a Councilmember or Mayor, please list up to three program priorities on how you would spend this money. Please provide specific line items and budget amounts.

1. Transportation infrastructure improvements (i.e. sidewalk construction and repair, expanding light rail and bus rapid transit, etc.) - $10 million

2. Homeless shelters and programs - $8 million

3. Public art installations - $2 million

 

 

 

Tony Smith