Yesterday I attended Chilfest in a different way than I ever have before. This is one of my favorite events to attend but this time I was running for a Town Trustee position and had a booth for my candidacy. Sadly, I didn’t get much Chili but I did talk to quite a few people and had one of the best Hotdogs I’ve ever eaten from Biker Jim Gourmet Dogs! But I digress…
Just a little before the event officially started Daryl and I had finished setting up, we decided to walk the booths and say hi to our neighbors. I came upon the Boulder County Republican booth supporting their candidate Anya Kirvan (Running for Colorado House District 12) and they made eye contact and I stopped to chat. It came up that I was running for Town Trustee (of course!) and after some chit-chat one of the gentleman in the booth asked “So, what’s your position on …”. It took me a little by surprise and honestly, he rattled of the topic so fast that I only caught that it was about development and housing. I paused for a second and my mind went to “… what’s my position…” and not to the topic he wanted me to answer. I responded (paraphrasing here) “you know, I’m running for Town Trustee and my responsibility is to our community and it’s not about positions”. I think he was a little surprised by my response but probably realized I wasn’t a politician there to debate or even discuss “positions” and we continued chatting.
It was a great introduction for the day and am thankful that I stopped and chatted with them. I am officially in the shallow end of the political world and I’m going to be faced with all kinds of discussions and questions about positions and it’s important that you understand where I’m at in all of this before you vote for me (or not!).
The word “Trustee” implies that you are putting trust in a person to represent your community. In my opinion, it’s one of the best titles for a position of responsibility in government that exists. You’re voting for someone because you are willing to trust them in a position of control and power in your community. As a resident, I have a tremendous amount of experience working with my neighbors to get our Trustees to listen to the things we cared deeply about. If elected, I’ll be on the Trustee side and listening intently to the things you care about. You can tell from my other posts what things are important to me and so I won’t go into them here.
What I will share is that I am a strong believer in community process. It’s been my experience that resident voices aren’t as strong as they need to be. This mostly shows up with development, but it’s been an issue in other areas as well. Our fight for Open Space early on is a good example. I am an advocate for planning and continued updates to our Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is one tool that provides our Town Board and Planning Commission a point of consideration on any application that comes forward and is a way to ensure that our vision is considered. It’s important to remember here that sometimes the Town itself is the applicant for a change in our town and follows the same process as any other applicant on issues that come before the Board and Planning Commission. What I am interested in looking at more closely is the process by which applications are handled in our Town, mostly, how development applications are handled. There is a LOT to this process that I won’t go into here. But my opinion is that community representation is over-shadowed by developer representation. I know that there is considerable room for improvement and it’s an area I intend to explore and fight for whether I’m elected or not. Meaningful engagement and opportunity for engagement is of the utmost importance to me.
That said, our community needs to be paying attention. In recent years, because of pressure from residents, our Town staff is providing a number of ways to access information and stay connected and engaged. I know there is always room for improvement but it goes both ways. If I’ve learned anything over these last 25 years is that if you’re not paying attention things will happen without your input!