This is what is important to me
AFFORDABLE HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS
The recent economic downturn has led to more and more families having to "double up" households.
This means multiple families of 4 are having to come together under one roof, just to afford to pay their rent or mortgage. This is due to skyrocketing rent rates and stagnant wages in the local job market. We need to add at least 3,000 more affordable housing units in Westminster, alone. We also need to allow for more economic growth locally. If we want less people on the streets, we need higher paying jobs and more affordable places to live.
When it comes to those without a home, or on the brink of homelessness, organization's like Growing Home are here to help. They have a food bank for those in need and programs that help break the cycle of poverty. For more information on Growing Home, click here.
Lastly, we must find a way to prevent the growing number of homeless children within our city.
Did you know that 10% of students in Westminster Public Schools are considered homeless?
That is appalling and something we should all be concerned about as citizens in this community.
It is our duty to care for every Westminster resident as if they are our own family.
CRIME RATES & POLICE REFORM
Car theft and property theft rates have continued to soar in the Denver Metro area during COVID-19.
We must enforce our laws to prevent this trend from continuing in Westminster. As car thefts are on the rise, I found nearly 130 cars without license plates or with overtly expired tags in city parking lots on a random Saturday afternoon.
Why are these fines not being enforced? I confirmed with the state DMV that they are only a couple months behind, not 6-8 months as some city officials state.
If elected Mayor, I will ensure these fines and others are actively enforced by our police department. I also want to implement a program similar to Denver's S.T.A.R. program, which will involve less police involvement for non-emergency calls. This will instantly benefit those homeless or those suffering from untreated mental illness.
I specifically want members of the Police Department to monitor and serve the neighborhoods they actually call home.
We need accurate representation of our community serving within our police department.
This is how we combat police brutality and misconduct amongst officers.
BUDGET MANAGEMENT & INFRASTRUCTURE
City Council's 2021 budget allotted the police department almost 30 million dollars. Meanwhile, only 31 million dollars was allocated to the following 6 departments:
The Fire Department,
The City Attorney's office,
The City Manager's office,
In 2021, City Council is voting to put off infrastructure updates for the next few years. They are doing this in a move to cover themselves from the public outrage they've received. City Council wants to use funds meant for infrastructure towards the water renovations they originally had the taxpayers paying for. They stated the infrastructure updates are not time sensitive and that there is no harm in pushing them back. I personally disagree with this assessment.
If anything, we should be rushing to fix as much of our infrastructure as we can!
Think about when Texas recently froze over. Do you want an unforeseen catastrophe like that in our backyard? We must continue forward with the infrastructure updates as planned, regardless of how much they cost.
WATER RATES & BILLING
City Council's decision to increase water rates has led to residents receiving bills as high as $1000 in the summertime. The average taxpayer should not be financially responsible for the burden of these water system renovations.
As Mayor, I will work to modify the water billing system so that the winter and summer months have different rates.
I also intend to add a 4th tier to the current system.
This new tier will house only the highest of water users at the top rate, allowing us to lower bills for all residents using less than 26,000 gallons.
Lower rates in the summer will allot for more usage at a lower price than you are currently paying. You shouldn't be forced to pay preposterous amounts in the summer just because you're taking care of your property.
A LIVABLE CLIMATE & HEALTHY CITY
Anyone who has been around for 40 years can see the change in our climate. In addition to the pollution and hail that threaten us here, long term heat and drought threaten agriculture, recreation, livability and community health. Emissions from fossil fuels cause 75% of this and a shift is inevitable. Let’s get ahead, in Westminster! Some of the most cost-effective solutions center around what we buy new – that includes city vehicles – and build new – including properties, and ensuring those have charging and adequate electrical panels.
When it comes to the electrification process, why stop at our vehicles? I believe we must stop the use of natural gas in new construction projects. We can achieve this by requiring all new construction and significantly remodeled homes to follow new building guidelines. Construction costs the same but is healthier and gets us off fossil fuels, leaks, and emissions. These guidelines will also call for builders to use more energy efficient appliances. We can offer a faster pathway and other incentives, working with federal legislation, to individuals who choose to electrify existing buildings or convert gas appliances to electric ones. My personal goal would be to have Westminster functioning as a completely electric city by 2040. We’ll enjoy cleaner air, better health, and be leaving a better legacy for our children and grandchildren.
Our city is at a crossroads when it comes to paying for aging infrastructure and completing Downtown construction. Even though the city currently has a superb credit score, local leaders will confirm that they don’t foresee us being able to maintain it much longer. It is estimated that Westminster is 1.5 Billion dollars underfunded by the federal and state governments. Which means that finding a viable solution is on us. This is where public banking comes in.
Public banks save money in many ways. First, Wall Street shareholders do not need to be paid. Like the Bank of North Dakota and local public banks in many other places, half the investment goes to local businesses. Students can borrow at 1.25%. And the bank makes great returns (like 20% in North Dakota) that helps fund our government. Low interest loans are available for solar on government buildings, schools, parking lots, and homes. This is enabled by banks’ ability to loan/source money from the Federal Reserve at 0.25%. Let's have those profits come back to Westminster and fund what citizens actually want, at low cost! This is much cheaper than revenue bonds at 3-4% or what Xcel charges to make such investments and generate shareholder returns (7-10%).
A city public bank would keep taxpayer money in Westminster, turning the wealth of the community back into small business loans, affordable housing, and can be used for addressing the many social and environmental problems we currently face.