Guest column: From the outside looking in

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By Betty Sue Harris
For the Enterprise

As a longtime, interested and involved resident of Broomfield since 2007, I have observed Broomfield’s transformation from a city and county whose governing body (City Council) was being held hostage by old school practices, a fear of and an inability to cope with change or growth, and, most importantly, the intimidation of oil and gas’ underhand practices, threats of lawsuits and bullying to become a well-organized, competent City Council never dodging but addressing with care and confidence the growing number of issues confronting today’s many challenges.

In 2007, when I arrived in Broomfield, I saw Broomfield’s City Council with hands full, so bogged down trying to preserve open space, dealing with much-needed road improvements, growing pains and a fracking threat to the community’s health, safety and welfare among other things that they couldn’t have foreseen as today’s added challenges. But, fortunately, the citizens/voters could see from the outside looking in the importance of community involvement and the need for a city government that would and could see ahead, stand up to oil & gas development and at the same time address the growing problems of affordable housing and homelessness that is present around the state, country and world. They could see a city government working in unison with human resources, such as Broomfield FISH and other humanitarian organizations, to look for solutions, and over time with action and vote, change the makeup of Broomfield’s City Council.

From the outside looking in, I see a City Council made up of a mayor, Guyleen Castriotta, who as councilmember (Ward 5) and mayor pro tem was selected by her fellow councilmembers to fill the vacancy of mayor. One of her main accomplishments in a very short time being that of “the Charter Amendment’” that protects open space from oil and gas development. I see councilmember Todd Cohen (Ward 5), who previously served on the open space committee, running to hold his seat so that he can continue to focus on public/private partnerships for truly affordable housing. And Deven Shaff (Ward 3) running to continue to shine a light on mental health and progress in improving local and regional transportation.

I see looking to join the aforementioned loyal, hardworking, dedicated councilmembers are Ward 1’s James Marsh-Holschen, who would work proudly  “along with our present City Council to build a truly sustainable and inclusive for all Broomfield. We are one community, yet the needs of each individual vary greatly and it’s up to us to embrace each other with compassion, kindness and a desire to truly listen to understand,” he stated as he toured Anchor House. While his opponent Chriss Hammerschmidt in the Ward 1 race shows little compassion for the poor, especially the homeless in her statement comparing the homeless to animals. “Have you ever noticed that when you start feeding the wildlife suddenly you get more wildlife?,” she stated in a letter to the editor (Broomfield Enterprise, Sept. 23, 2021).

Running for City Council from Ward 4, Bruce Leslie is a lifelong college administrator and educator, having directed a program in Texas with more than 100,000 students and over 6,000 employees, with great leadership skills, and brings a promise of unity to Broomfield and to work with representatives from both sides of issues.

Austin Ward, Ward 2 candidate, has a BA in economics. Ward, a fierce public transportation advocate states that “housing, transportation, sustainability and environment are big issues for Broomfield right now and they are extremely important to me.” His young, energetic ideas would be a great asset to a City Council always looking toward and working toward a better Broomfield for ALL.

From my vantage point, the voters of Broomfield have an opportunity on Nov. 2 not afforded to many communities to choose to enhance an already competent, compassionate, inclusive, transparent City Council from a slate of excellent candidates ready willing and able to bring their expertise to the Council.