Meet the City Council candidates:

       The Westside Pioneer asked the District 3 candidates for basic personal information and to respond to a question. The personal information pertained to age, family, career and time in District 3 (which covers the southwest part of the city).
       The question was: With all five of the District 3 candidates from the Cheyenne, Broadmoor or Ivywild areas, their individual levels of understanding about the Westside may not be well known. So the question is something of a test. Four current concerns for the Westside's part of your district involve stormwater, traffic, panhandling and parks/open space maintenance. In 200 words or less, please provide as detailed a response as possible to how you will address them.

Joe Barrera

Age: 66.
Family: Divorced, three grown children.
How long in District 1: Three years this time around.
Career: Retired college teacher (UCCS, PPCC and Colorado College); U.S. Army veteran; Black-Latino Coalition leader..
Response: I place the highest priority on the drainage improvements on Camp Creek and Douglas Creek. The I-25 and Fillmore interchange is also another high priority. When I am on City Council I will make sure that all of these projects are done. It may take a lot of tough negotiation, but it is possible to accomplish needed work on infrastructure in a timely fashion. The present Council has not been proactive enough on this.
       I am also proposing a burn scar flood mitigation project. We are aiming for 2000 plus volunteers over six weekends in April and May. We would build check dams, catchment basins, stream bank restoration, re-forestation, etc., under the supervision of the many professional groups and agencies already doing work on the burn scar. The potential for disastrous flooding is very real, and only a big effort like this can make a dent in the damage.
Don Knight

Age: 58.
Family: Married 32 years. Three children.
How long in District 1: 23 years (except for two Air Force assignments from 1992 to 1996).
Career: Retired Air Force Officer and business development worker in the defense industry.
Response: My top city and District 1 priorities are: retaining/attracting businesses, retaining our graduates and mitigating Waldo-Canyon flood risks.
       Drainage improvements - from Camp Creek through Pleasant Valley and Douglas Creek through Mountain Shadows and near Garden of the Gods Road - are priorities 1 and 1A in mitigating flooding risks. I applaud Commissioner Sallie Clark and our Congressional delegation in convincing the House to insert $48 million in watershed protection funds. I will bring my Washington, D.C., experience to enlist the Senate relations offices of our local defense industries to help push the Senate for similar passage.
       The Fillmore/I-25 interchange ranks below my stated priorities. The city is already moving the Chestnut-Fillmore intersection using Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) funds. I believe this will relieve a majority of the issues, allowing the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to fund the Cimarron/I-25 interchange before the Fillmore/I-25 interchange.
       So besides flood mitigation, I will focus on revitalizing industry along the Garden of the Gods corridor, resolving the No Man's Land issues west of Old Colorado City and expanding upon the new University Village shopping center's success to bring more businesses and prosperity along Nevada.
Tim Leigh

Age: 58.
Family: Married two adult children.
How long in District 1: 30 years.
Career: Real Estate Salesman; City Council-member since 2011.
Response: Your questions set up the larger question as to the wisdom of district elections and that in our form of government, every councilor will seek to gain advantage over other districts without regard to the overall health of the city. I'm not a fan of district elections.
       I support watershed improvements on the Westside, and I support the Fillmore interchange improvement but would rather see the Centennial extension turn east at Van Buren, than see it built close to Sondermann Park. My route would save millions by using existing infrastructure. In addition, I'm working on a plan to purchase the corner of Fillmore and Mesa streets for donation to School District 11 to preserve that walkway between Holmes Middle School and Coronado High School as perpetual open space.
       I led the 31st Street revitalization by remodeling several homes over the past few years. I've spent dozens of hours personally cleaning the 31st Street ditch, aka Camp Creek.
       I volunteered to stain the concrete in the 31st Street ditch to match the Garden of the Gods and have suggested cooperative, multi-jurisdictional efforts to improve the waterway both for aesthetics and safety.
Linda Mojer

Age: 58.
Family: Divorced, no children.
How long in District 1: 23 years.
Career: Owner of a small business (web management and consulting firm). Executive Director of the Southern Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce.
Response: In all honesty and fairness, I feel that no one should seek to prioritize these types of projects by district alone. Given the severity and scope of all the pressing stormwater projects, it would be misleading to suggest that anything less than an integrated approach would serve the community on the whole. If elected, I would trust and depend upon those experts who have conducted the necessary in-depth studies to make recommendations of this type - based on urgency and impact - to protect public safety in each of the districts through which stormwater moves.
       I would tend to apply those same principles to the decision-making process surrounding roadway improvements, shifting slightly to considerations of more obvious public safety hazards to allocate resources. Where potential stormwater damage is as unpredictable as the weather, crumbling infrastructure should be easier to identify and address in a more targeted way.
       I understand that the city is struggling with these very issues and that - IF unlimited funds and resources were available - such decisions would be far easier to consider and support from a neighborhood perspective. But that's not the case, so my stance has to favor doing whatever yields the greatest good for the community overall.
Julie Naye

Age: 49.
Family: Divorced, four children.
How long in District 1: Four years.
Career: Customer service industry (including my own businesses), flight attendant .
Response: I believe a distinction has to be made as to whether a project is a necessity or a nicety. I define necessity as if not addressed, the cost of repair or mitigation exponentially increases cost to the taxpayer. The Camp Creek and Douglas Creek projects, as I understand them, fall under the necessity category. The current estimates are about $3.5 million for South Douglas Creek and $9 million for phase 1 of Camp Creek. I do not see the Fillmore/I-25 interchange as a necessity, and it is a state-funded project, anyway.
       City Council's responsibilities cover many interests and affect many outcomes in the near and far future. My catalyst to enter this race was more about our civil liberties… or should I say the diminishing thereof. Our country is headed in the wrong direction, and we must begin to straighten the wheel here locally. I do not have all the answers. It is my job to remove barriers so the movers and shakers of our community are able to come forth with the answers. Elected officials are there at the behest of the governed. Many forget that fact. I will not.

Westside Pioneer article