Over the last few years I have come to the realization that there is a larger contest in the City than any of the issues that inspired me to run for office. It is bigger than excessive water rates. It will have more lasting effects than a dishonest Councillor. It is bigger than misuse of TIF or URAs. It is more powerful than how we treat our citizens or how effectively operate the City. The issue is whether we use our City taxes and powers to maintain our suburbs or use those taxes and powers to transform the City into a high-density, congested, urbanized, government-planned City of the Future.
I am firmly on the side of maintaining the suburbs. I view our suburbs as an oasis and refuge in the middle of the chaos, congestion and competition of Metro Denver. I see our green lawns, wide streets, backyard bar-b-ques and varying neighborhoods not as an extravagant life-style and selfish waste of resources, but as an intentional and purposeful choice that enhances the lives of all suburbanites and is the escape path when urban dwellers have had enough.
The value of suburbs to our society is enormous. The value of suburbs to individuals is beyond enormous. In my lifetime it is the suburbs that have brought the American Dream to life. It is the suburbs where Americans achieved success and equality. The suburbs are where there is enough space to let your neighbor live alone and in peace, something nearly impossible in high density neighborhoods. It is the suburbs and our cars that let people easily join together and accomplish any task they wish, be it work or education or worship or social or political or civic. It is the suburbs that have increased the wealth of the average American more than any other financial vehicle.
The Comprehensive Plan
The Battle for the Future of Westminster is being fought in the Comprehensive Plan. Our current Plan says it is the guideline for the next two decades. (https://www.cityofwestminster.us/Portals/1/Documents/Government%20-%20Documents/Departments/Community%20Development/Planning/COMPLETE%20Comp%20Plan_2015%20Update_WEB.pdf)
Moreover our Comprehensive Plan should be much more than a guideline. The current plan passed in 2013 says "The vision described in the Westminster 2035 Comprehensive Plan lays the foundation for livability, accessibility, community identity and growth over the next two decades" on page 1-10. It should be a promise to our residents. However that is not happening. While I was on Council from 2013 to 2017, and over my objections, the Plan was constantly amended to jam more high density housing into Westminster. Specific examples of the abuses to Plan include the changing the Plan to jam in apartments at the industrial site at 120th and Huron. Jamming in apartments at the old Builders Square site at 88th and Wadsworth. Jamming in apartments at the Orchard. Compounding the abuses of changing the Plan are the unfair subsidies to apartments at the Promenade site and the New Downtown
Even worse, the Plan that was supposed to serve as our guide until 2035 is currently being rewritten. My guess is the authors of the re-write it will jam in even more high density "rat cages". The developers of these projects (projects that will become slums in 40 years) do not care one bit about Our City or Our future. They are driven by greed. When we fire the current council, a new council can stop allowing the high density Slums of the Future.
Candidate for Westminster City Council, November 2019