Questioning the Mayor/City Council candidates
Responses from Coletta, J. Martin, Harold, Herpin, Timm

       Ballots are being mailed out this week to Colorado Springs registered voters for the municipal election. There are four mayoral candidates and nine City Council candidates for four at-large seats. Ballots must be mailed back to the city by April 3.
       The Westside Pioneer asked the same two questions of each candidate and gave each a total of 200 words to respond. The responses from the five who have replied so far appear below; we plan to run the others' as they come in before April 3.
       The five this issue are Mike Coletta - mayor; and Jan Martin, Tom Harold, Bernie Herpin (an appointed incumbent council member), and Greg Timm - council.
       The questions are as follows
       1. If elected, what will you specifically do (if anything) to convince CDOT to reduce the size of the Westside Highway 24 expansion?
       2. What makes you so sure that you can lead this city anywhere?

Mike Coletta

       1. Highway 24: After reading and studying the information, studies and design plans that have been prepared, I will assess what are the pros and cons of a project of this size and design. My focus will be on an effort to prevent a deterioration in the visual appearance of the area as well as the prevention of any negative business impacts. I want to ensure that the local community which is impacted by this project is given the opportunity to provide their input, which will be woven into my input. If it is found through all input that the size of the product needs to be reduced , it shall be done.
       2. Leadership: It will not be hard to lead a city in the direction the people who live in that city want to go. I will just be following their direction through their desires and input. As a mayor of the people, I will travel in the direction they want me to go, taking our city in that direction.

Jan Martin

       1. Highway 24: The project to expand Highway 24 is still in the early stages (and yet to be funded) so it is a perfect opportunity for the community, elected officials and CDOT to come together and produce a plan we can all be proud of and that meets the future needs of all the parties involved. I look forward to having the opportunity to participate in the discussions regarding the expansion of Highway 24.
       2. Leadership: As a native of Colorado Springs and someone who has sat on city and county boards and commissions and been very involved in the community, I believe I have a good understanding of the issues and opportunities facing Colorado Springs. I have participated in the Leadership Pikes Peak program and the Bighorn Leadership Program which teach specific community leadership skills. I believe our city is ready for new leadership and vision, and I have the experience, skills and enthusiasm to communicate a vision, engage the public and move this community forward towards a positive future.

Tom Harold

       1. Highway 24: Commissioner Sallie Clark asked me to work on the Highway 24 Taskforce as the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority representative. My concern is the original design does not fit the Westside. Working within the system, I feel I am best suited to affect the process and ensure the project is designed properly. Specifi-cally, I will work to ensure the traffic flow figures are accurate and we are not over-building. We need to blend various design alternatives into a project that will allow proper traffic flow on this critical transportation corridor, but will maintain the character of the neighborhoods and the Westside.
       2. Leadership: As a native of Colorado Springs, as the community has grown up, I have too. I have witnessed good times and bad times, I have watched what has worked and what has not, and I have experienced the community. I am very active in the broader community and have established myself as a proven leader. It is time for me to give back. I have the commitment, convictions, enthusiasm and experience to lead Colorado Springs into the future. It is time for fresh young leadership, new ideas, a vision for all citizens, community building, and for progress, not politics.

Bernie Herpin

       1. Highway 24: During the public process of determining how best to improve the traffic flow on US 24 west of I-25, I will be a champion for allowing our citizens, especially those most impacted by any improvements, to be heard and for their concerns to be considered during the planning process. There is no choice but to improve US 24. There is a choice in how it will be improved.
       2. Leadership: This last year, I have poured my heart and soul, my very being, into making our community the best place possible to live, work, play, and raise a family. I helped a Westside neighborhood get a much needed four-way stop intersection near an elementary school [at 28th Street and Pikes Peak Avenue]. I helped other neighborhoods with traffic calming and safety issues. I am working with our traffic engineering department to help improve the ability of the residents of a Westside senior housing complex to safely cross the street to their bus stop [in the 2600 block of Uintah Street]. Having been appointed, not elected, I have made it my priority to get out into the community to meet with our citizens to see how I can best serve their needs. I will continue to be a leader for our citizens for the next 4 years.

Greg Timm

       1. Highway 24: CDOT plans are always oversized.  I have a long history with CDOT and the experience of a landowner that has continually been under attack from CDOT.  I know how to fight CDOT.
       2. Leadership: I am a businessman who has years of experience in this community.  I believe that my business background will allow me to be an effective leader.  No one councilman can be a total leader; you need to be a negotiator as much as a leader.  I negotiate contracts everyday.  I believe that my negotiation skills will make me an effective leader on City Council.  It takes five votes to get anything approved on City Council.  I am not a politician, this being my first-time campaign for office.

Westside Pioneer article