District 9 is not only my heart, but also the heart of Denver. Our district is a collection of historic neighborhoods and diverse interests that promise an opportunity to lead the nation. In Denver we have concentrated our resources and services in an urban core that is less accessible daily. We need to focus on the big issues from a neighborhood perspective and each neighborhood has to be a self-reliant, fully functional ecosystem. In order to remain a beacon and livable city, we must leverage our growth and diversity for racial, social and economic justice. Man-made policy has led us to the inequity we experience today. We can make policy that is intentional and compassionate to address our most pressing challenges. With over ten years developing, analyzing, evaluating and advocating for policy and working as a social worker with community, I have crafted many policy proposals in collaboration with community. I believe with my strong policy background and social justice lens, we can meaningfully address the challenges we face across the District 9.
We can rise together through responsible growth, people-centered transportation and GOVERNMENT YOU CAN TRUST.
Housing & Wages
Responsible growth means building a city we can all afford. Denver has grown by over 90,000 people in the last five years. Housing prices have skyrocketed hitting record highs. At the same time, Colorado wages have been virtually stagnant since 2000. The rapid and uneven growth in population, jobs, and wages presents our communities with once in a lifetime opportunities and challenges. As we welcome new residents, new businesses, and new development, we must also craft new policy to protect those who built the Denver we all love and new policy to ensure a sustainable future. Market forces can be influenced, even changed by government policy.
Responsible government means our policies reflect thoughtful and responsible solutions to inequities created by the market. Responsible growth means that our local government must play a stronger role in ensuring we are intervening on market forces gobbling up the middle-class. I know we can grow into a city where we all can afford to live and raise future generations. We have enough of everything we need right here, now we just need creative and bold leadership to move our government into an open-source, innovative direction.
Ensure new jobs pay livable wages
Streamline government agencies working on housing, homelessness, and human services to reduce waste and inefficiency
Invest in establishing community-led land trusts
End corporate welfare; shift the burden of growth proportionately to corporations
Institute Renter’s Bill of Rights and Community Bill of Rights for development
Implement transparent tracking systems for locating housing that is affordable
Revising outdated zoning and occupancy codes to make it legal for innovative living options like housing co-operatives, accessory dwelling units, teacher housing/ group housing
Limit luxury development when there is not a demand for it
Prohibit the sale of city-owned parcels in the urban core for market rate development
Support community-owned real estate federations
Monitor umbrella covenants on current affordable homes
Mandate reviews of potential historic or landmark structures
Implement equity zoning in planning processes and permitting
Partner strategically with innovative industries that make short-term rentals an emergency or transitional solution for housing
Embed Best Value Contracting into all new development projects
Traffic & Pollution
People-centered transportation means connectivity planning that prioritizes the planet and people over cars. Denver is the 14th most polluted city in America for high ozone and the biggest causes include increasing traffic, expansive oil and gas industry, and the mountains which trap pollution. Our district is also home to the most polluted zip code in America.
Many people moving to an urban core like Denver are hoping to free themselves from the costs of a car, sitting in traffic, and navigating unpredictable construction. We want to live, play and work within longer and we choose Denver’s urban core to enable that lifestyle. Unfortunately, our rate of growth and lack of much needed planning for moving people rather than cars has led us to an urban experience that isn’t quite ripe for abandoning our cars but is also very quickly destroying the beautiful environment that attracted so many of us.
The goal of any modern city should be to reduce the amount of cars on the road and the consequent pollution and environmental degradation they leave in our midst. Denver did not originally build transit to connect neighborhood to neighborhood. Instead we built our highway transportation systems through our neighborhoods for travelers who are merely passing through. We built our mass transit in and out of our city center to get travelers from suburbs to work. Much of our street grid remains disconnected. Neighborhoods still lack sidewalks and too many of our well-intentioned bike lanes lead to nowhere and do not connect to each other. I believe we can work together to plan and begin a phased implementation of a multi-modal network that will connect neighborhoods and people to each other for generations to come.
Streamline permitting for all construction projects to prevent overloading neighborhoods with street closures
Implement transparency database to view pending permits for construction in order of receipt to prevent large developers from being prioritized over residents
Cease to reliance solely on RTD to prioritize urban mobility in a region of competing needs
Partner creatively and coordinate more effectively with the vast array of private options available for transport including: rideshare, pedi-bus, pedicab, e-tuks, bikeshare, scooters, circulator buses, rapid bus transit, and eventually autonomous cars
Incentivize health-conscious, eco-friendly, zero-emission options
Pursue options to limit diesel emission vehicles in neighborhoods
Implement carpool “slug” stations
Balance innovations with mandates to decrease the net amount of cars on the road
Develop an city-employee eco-pass “donation” fund to divert unused eco-pass benefits to low-income residents and students
Reduce school buses on the road by diverting funds to RTD to implement free peak hour transit for youth
Study and explore peak hour one-way street conversion on high traffic roads
Transparency & Accountability
GOVERNMENT YOU CAN TRUST
Democracy for the people means putting the power of city planning, city budgeting/spending and city overall decision-making into the hands of residents. All over the country, people are rising up to demand real democracy and real representation, including right here in Denver. Government must be accountable to the people which is only possible if working people have all the facts. Access to the facts requires transparency and representation that is embedded in our communities.
Far too many generations have passed us by with less than 15% of our city’s residents consistently making decisions for the other 85% of residents. With meetings at inaccessible times and places, absentee representatives, and restricted public comment times, it can be challenging or impossible to participate in city government. People of all backgrounds deeply want a more democratically controlled economy and society and working people are aware that many of the social injustices we see today are because of the power that is given to corporations by our government who can afford to pay experts to study, navigate, and control our democracy. I know we can do better in Denver and it begins with representation that aligns with the most vulnerable populations.
Implement real-time access to calendars of public officials being paid by our tax dollars
Close ethics loopholes that allow elected officials to accept gifts, trips, and benefits knowing they will influence decision making
Ban corporate special interest money from campaigns
Expand modes of citizen participation like video-conferencing/remote participation in city council public testimony
Streamline Denvergov website
Develop city council vote tracker database and scorecards
Found a public bank
Allow Community-led and enforceable neighborhood master plans
Embed Community Bills of Rights into all new development
Allow collective bargaining for city employees
Decentralize mayoral control
Implement ranked choice voting
Implement automatic voter registration
Pilot participatory budgeting
Implement inclusive neighborhood councils that are representative of the neighborhood and inform decision-making of councilmembers