Housing is HUGE. Protecting what we have from being scraped or turned into tourist housing; increasing variety of housing stock and especially homes for purchase. Restoring the 10% affordable housing requirement terminated by a previous Council would help enormously. If you do not demand what you need you will never get it. When we work hard and do not have living wage jobs, we cannot buy a home, so we rent. When we cannot afford to rent, we become homeless.
Fracking Ban within City Limits
Longmont vigorously fought the Colorado Oil and Gas lawsuits against the city of Longmont’s modest proposal to ban fracking inside the city limits. I stand with the majority of Longmont residents who believe in and used our home-rule status to ban fracking within our city limits. Home-rule gives power to the city to decide its own zoning rules and regulations without state interference. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the the right of legal fictions (corporations) to extract oil and gas beneath the ground was superior to the health, safety, and property rights of human beings above the ground (us). We can still control what happens within our city limits with the use of setbacks for flow and gathering lines, mapping of lines, inspection of gathering lines, and allying ourselves with other municipalities and counties. As Gordon Pedrow, our respected former City Manager, said, “Land-use regulation and zoning regulation is the primary tool for a quality community.”
Respectful and Fair Community Relations
Longmont has several minority groups that currently comprise about 30% of our population. Everyone should feel safe and welcome in Longmont because that is the kind of town we value. When people are treated with disrespect or passed over for opportunities they have earned, we all suffer. We all lose out on the talent, intelligence, and passion our whole community could share. We become a poorer town, both economically and morally.
This year has been particularly hard as we are seeing the reversal of 50 years of civil rights progress nationally with increased physical attacks and the destruction of legal rights for Muslims, Latinos, African Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, Jews, the poor, the elderly, the disabled . . . We must stand together as one nation indivisible to protect each other locally.
In November of 2016 I Introduced “Resolution 123: Reaffirming Our Constitutional Rights and Our Community Values.” This moderate proclamation was intended to bring our community together, yet three members of council fought me tooth and nail for two weeks before it passed. Several months later I was asked by residents to bring up a proposal for discussion about how Longmont dealt with undocumented immigrants. The same three council members did not even want to allow a discussion of this very important issue. In September I was asked to bring forth a petition in favor of protecting our DACA residents. The same three members refused to go to a rally outside City Council chambers in support of these young people and were lukewarm toward the proposal. I will always fight for everyone’s safety and for everyone of good intent to be treated with respect. As the saying goes, “We all do better when we ALL do better.”
We want to encourage developers who share our vision of a vibrant, diverse, and economically balanced community. Development must pay its way. That means the developer should pay his fare share for the increase in taxpayer burdens due to his development, such as increased school, roads, and utility expenses. We want to encourage developers who welcome that responsibility because they have a creative vision for Longmont. We do not need to subsidize developers who buy land cheaply because it has zoning restrictions, then demand rezoning to gain more profit that flies out of state. These changes in original zoning and planning agreements and expectations are often over the strenuous objections of current individual property owners adjacent to or within the development.
Longmont voters, myself included, overwhelmingly voted in 2004 for FasTracks RAIL to be built to Longmont. Voters still want rail to come to Longmont, and so do I. I strongly support rail to Longmont, and as quickly as possible.
This small blessing to help those in chronic pain, medical marijuana should be regulated, strictly enforced for health and safety, zoned appropriately, and supported. According to the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), medical marijuana “may offer broad benefits for pain from nerve damage from injuries, HIV, strokes, and other conditions,” including epileptic seizures. Watching my lovely and kind 85-year-old neighbor and friend suffer from the excruciating pain of terminal cancer was a deciding factor for me. Medical marijuana gave this wonderful lady enough relief from the pain and nausea that she was able to focus her last months on her beloved family and pets, not her pain.
Medical marijuana is also effective for treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Suicide is the leading cause of death for our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Unfortunately, PTSD is not currently an recognized legal condition for medical marijuana in Colorado as it is in Maine, New Mexico, and many other medical marijuana states. Either this state restriction should be changed or, to ensure access to treatment for those suffering from PTSD, Longmont should move forward with the dual-use medical/retail marijuana licensing established by the state of Colorado.
I initiated the proposal to remove the ban on marijuana dispensaries within our city limits. One night I listened to one City Council member sitting under the sign that says “You Belong in Longmont” state “If you can’t afford to live here you need to go someplace you CAN afford. I tell my daughter to move to Frederick.” I was shocked and angry. I read that Aurora and Denver and many other municipalities had allowed dispensaries and used the entire amount of tax to fund affordable housing. That is what I set out to do. That tax is on the ballot and if passed, it will only be paid by purchasers of recreational marijuana.