Let’s build a wall around Broomfield and keep out newcomers
As I read various letters to the Enterprise during this election cycle, I am struck by a theme of certain residents that to be qualified to be elected to office you must have “deep roots” in Broomfield.
Given that Broomfield has grown by 86% in the last two decades that would seem to eliminate most current residents. What if we thought that having all this new talent move into Broomfield makes us a more robust community? What a novel idea that “outsiders” might have a variety of skill sets and experience to make Broomfield better.
J. Craig Holland
Vote for hope, vote for Broomfield
As you peruse your ballots in this election year, please don’t assume that this election won’t matter for Broomfield or your day-to-day life. When you make your choices and drop your ballot at any of the secure ballot drop boxes in Broomfield, vote for hope, vote for humanity and vote for the environment and open space in Broomfield!
As I’ve written previously, if you are in Ward 1 and care for your LGBTQ+ neighbors and value their humanity, vote for James Marsh-Holschen. In addition, Marsh-Holschen understands the economics of rising housing prices and how we can best address the exponential growth in Broomfield.
If you are in Ward 2, Austin Ward, one of the youngest City Council candidates we have had in Broomfield, is passionate about affordable housing as well and understands the need for green transportation options.
Deven Shaff in Ward 3 has been an integral councilmember who has shepherded Broomfield thru the pandemic while helping achieve so many milestones in Broomfield, including the formation of the Advisory Committee on Environmental Stewardship led by citizens who will drive Broomfield to a greener future.
In Ward 4, Bruce Leslie has a drive for sustainability and providing stewardship for our growth. Over in Ward 5, Todd Cohen is the choice for protecting your open space and your quality of life that are a part of Broomfield itself. Open space and its preservation are essential to this town.
The choice for Mayor, Guyleen Castriotta, will protect our open space as well and lead us to the other side of this pandemic. She has worked tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of Broomfield, and I am very grateful she has a heart of service that drives her.
Grab those ballots out of your pile of mail Broomfield!! As you cast you ballots, think about your hope for the future as Broomfield grows and becomes home to new neighbors. Don’t we want this home to be greener, with better air quality, more affordable housing and open hearts to our neighbors?
The City Council election is a time for choosing
On Oct. 26, the leadership of the current Broomfield City Council was on full display. Unfortunately, it is not one of cooperation or collaboration, it is one of hostility and antagonism.
In the meeting, a developer who has been working for years on a plan to build out the Palisade Park subdivision was in front of the current City Council for the plan’s final approval. The developer has 30 years of experience in Broomfield, highlighted by his work with the city to bring Interlocken, two hospitals and the Butterfly Pavilion to Broomfield. For the Palisade Park development, the developer worked with the community to create a mix-used proposal that includes homes, multi-unit residences and commercial buildings, along with $500,000 to the city to assist with Broomfield’s affordable housing goals. Councilmember Elizabeth Law-Evans thanked the developer for being a good friend for Broomfield over the years.
What proceeded from there was appalling. During the discussion on the plan, several councilmembers, including (William) Lindstedt, (Sharon) Tessier, (Jean) Lim, (Deven) Shaff, (Laurie) Anderson and (Todd) Cohen, wanted more out of the developer. They wanted an additional $1,000,000 from the developer to go towards affordable housing. They wanted the plan to be reworked to adhere to an updated reverse-setback ordinance they passed just moments earlier. They wanted solar panels added to the commercial buildings. These 11th-hour demands were meant to squeeze more out of the developer and twist the plan to meet their own agenda. To his credit, the developer said no to these last demands on a plan he had already repeatedly compromised on.
While being peppered with the demands, the developer quipped “if I don’t agree with these new demands, are you going to throw me in the dungeon?” This one statement reflects the leadership of the current Council. Adversarial to businesses, demanding more out of those before them while giving up nothing from their end. And to put icing on the cake, after grilling the developer to give up more, moments later they patted themselves on the back by voting to increase their own pay by more than 60%. No good deed goes unpunished with the current City Council, and they rewarded themselves handsomely for their efforts.
For the good of Broomfield’s future, it’s a time for choosing new leadership for the City Council. We need a Council that supports businesses, that doesn’t attack them. We need a Council that works for the community’s best interests, not for their own. We need a Council that listens to the citizens and those who want to work with Broomfield and will give them a fair shake.
On Nov. 2, vote for Kimberly Groom (mayor), Chriss Hammerschmidt (Ward 1), Brent Hultman (Ward 2), Brian Peotter (Ward 3), Mindy Quiachon (Ward 4), and Grayson Hofferber (Ward 5). These candidates reflect what Broomfield is about, and will bring a reasonable, rational approach back to the City Council.
A yes vote for 2A
There are so many reasons that I support the adoption of Ranked Choice Voting in Broomfield (Question 2A), but first I should identify the problems with our current system, called “plurality voting.”
Also known as “most votes wins,” the plurality method is perfectly fine for elections with just two candidates, but it becomes problematic when three or more candidates run for a single seat. If those candidates are similarly popular, a winner could be chosen with less than a majority. Or, when two like-minded candidates with majority views compete against each other, their shared base of supporters could “split the vote” and hand victory to a candidate who is opposed by the majority. In both cases, the majority of votes cast would not be for the ultimate winner. This means the officeholder doesn’t feel supported and constituents don’t feel represented. The plurality method produces poor results for what we should expect from a democratic election.
As a further consequence of the plurality method, candidates are routinely pressured to drop out of races or not run at all. Campaigns that would otherwise be friendly become opponents. This is morally objectionable to a democracy and damaging to civic self-governance for obvious reasons, but larger damage is done by keeping many competing views out of the public dialogue.
Ranked Choice Voting, by contrast, is the most reliable means of identifying the will of the majority, and it ensures that a candidate opposed by the majority can never win. By removing the “vote for one” limitation, RCV makes all candidates viable, eliminates vote-splitting and spoiler candidates, and drastically reduces wasted votes (votes for a non-winning candidate). By allowing voters to express their will as ranked preferences, RCV forces candidates to build coalitions around issues not personalities, fosters inclusion instead of partisan divides and reduces negativity.
Of course, change can be uncomfortable and ballots are sacred, so making changes to our election should never be taken lightly. Fortunately, RCV is a time-tested method. The modern hardware that our county election division uses already accommodates RCV and the cost for the software license is a proverbial drop in the bucket. Best of all, RCV is fully auditable and introduces no new vulnerabilities to election security and outcome integrity. I hope you will vote Yes on 2A!
Broomfield City Councilmember, 2011-2019
Broomfield Republicans ostensibly promote “responsible” and “honest” government. They insinuate that the current “progressive” council spends frivolously and wants to raise taxes even though Council has been hardworking, thoughtful and budgetarily sound through pandemic and oil and gas upheavals. Moreover, this Council is transparent and engaged, being the first to publicize upcoming agendas online and speaking at town halls. They supported businesses in handling COVID per health experts’ advice despite accusations that they were ruining businesses and taking away freedom and choice. Moreover, they stood with our police by supporting the red-flag bill and funding 20 additional positions despite accusations about 2nd Amendment rights and defunding. Republicans even questioned Broomfield’s voting system, which is extremely secure. These facts exhibit the assumptions and slogans Republicans use to rile up their base.
Colin Powell, a longtime Republican, supported Hillary Clinton rather than Donald Trump in 2016. Lincoln Project Republicans spend money calling out Trump and his followers. Some current councilmembers and others in our community changed affiliations rather than uphold what the Republican party has become. These council members support environmental and business sustainability, diversity, and health to serve all in our community. Government exists to “promote the general welfare.” When people ignorantly “choose” to harm others, then guidelines and regulations are needed.
I don’t believe that local candidates supported by Republicans can lead responsibly or honestly. From what I’ve observed, they tend to dismiss the science of medicine and climate change and don’t consider and balance the different needs of all residents. Rather, they say it is your choice to get vaccinated and wear a mask or not. Many opposed our charter amendment to avoid harm from oil and gas and were minimally involved, if at all, in changing state and local law to better protect people. They seem willing to sacrifice open space rather than thinking creatively about denser development. They want public service through volunteerism rather than adequate compensation for complicated and hard work. They apparently care more about their freedom and profit rather than how their choices and lifestyles end up harming others.
These candidates also don’t seem to care about democracy. Some confuse the constitutional separation of church and state by promoting “Christian” values that are actually dog-whistles of white supremacy. Some tweet with Parler and Oathkeepers and don’t condemn right-wing extremist groups that aligned with Trump to overthrow our democracy. I don’t hear them complaining about Republican-led states that disenfranchise voters by gerrymandering, making voting difficult and spreading disinformation about fraud. Why don’t they publicly question the corruption and lies of Trump like Rep. Liz Cheney does?
Sixty-six percent of donations to Republican candidates came from just six donors so far! Ben Vagher, uncle of candidate Kimberly Groom and founder of a company that contracts chip sealing with the city, spent $19,000, and Steve Reynolds, owner of Infinity Oil and Gas, spent $13,500! Are they afraid of losing influence?
Please vote for a responsible and honest government by Nov. 2!
Lois Vanderkooi, PsyD, JD