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?
This is an issue that has Federal, Regional, and Local solutions. Federally, we must advocate for increase HUD funding to states. Regionally, we need be searching for shared revenue opportunities to solve the regional housing crisis. We clearly have additional local bonding capacity that could be sent to the voters. We also need to repeal rent control to allow strong inclusionary housing ordinances on rental properties. Once new revenue is generated the bulk of the money should be sent to Non-Profit Housing Developers because their goal and mission is to create attainable and affordable housing.
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?
At our current rate of funding it will take decades to make the improvements that we need to improve safety, provide transportation choices, and improve our air quality. According to the Denver Streets Partnership, $40 million annually is needed to make this a reality. The high injury network would be my first priority. I would entertain sending a dedicated local source of funding to the voters.
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?
Parks and Recreation just announced a series of public meetings to discuss the plans for the future of capital spending on the new 2A money. I intend to be very involved in this discourse and will organize District 3 residents to participate. It is crucial that areas of town that do not have parks within in a 10 minutes walk of residents, or haven’t had a new park in 10 years or more be prioritized. Open space and housing are connected, to me they need not compete.
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?
Stagnation of wages, job skill development, the lack of small business support services, the decline in homeownership by people of color, and gentrification are all factors that are contributing to the the growing disparities in Denver. My priorities are to support non-profits and residents in economic and housing justice fights in the areas of town that are most vulnerable to displacement.
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?
Housing, Small Business Support, and Transportation are all major issues that must have increases in funding immediately I believe there are many city agencies that should be audited before decisions are made to cut their budgets. I would work with the City Auditor to identify the priority of departments.
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.
Housing is a must. I would infuse $15 million into the Affordable Housing Fund. The Other $5 million into the Revolving Loan Fund for Small Businesses in the Office Of Economic Development in target areas, such as the areas of the inner city that are most vulnerable to displacement.