Candidates on mental health, the disabled, Council pay

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Traffic congestion. Water supply. The need for more cops.

Those are all bread and butter issues for city elected officials, and arise at every candidate forum and in every candidate interview. And those issues certainly were front and center in Sixty35 news magazine’s questionnaire submitted to mayoral and City Council candidates in the April 4 municipal election.

But it’s interesting to see how candidates running answered an open-ended question from Sixty35.

What issues haven’t we asked about that you’d like to bring to our attention?

Comments from the candidates, in alphabetical order: (Candidates Chineta Davis, Jay Inman and Lynette Crow-Iverson didn’t return the questionnaire.)

Glenn Carlson (Courtesy of the candidate)

Glenn Carlson: “Although there are many big issues deserving of our attention, there are other, more localized ones that I see as worthy of addressing. I am very involved in many of the large Colorado Springs groups such as Word of Mouth Colorado Springs and/or the 411 for the 719. I believe they are a great way to contribute and answer questions about our community and learn about common issues.

“One of the issues I see constantly is Landlords allowing tenants to live in terrible conditions and sometimes go days without heat, water, or both. This is simply unacceptable and something I believe should be part of code enforcement.

“Another issue I see is what I call area disparity.  It is the responsibility of the city to ensure equal maintenance throughout the city, not just the up-and-coming, higher socio-economic ones. The roads in southern Colorado Springs deserve the same attention as the ones up north. The parks on the east side of town deserve the same attention as the ones on the west side.”


Katherine Gayle (Courtesy of the candidate)

Katherine Gayle: “Equity for people with disabilities. As the Paralympic City and home to numerous disabled veterans, Colorado Springs should lead in providing services to all disabled citizens. I would increase access to services, especially in housing — enabling all individuals to age in place and to allow for more independent living and better access to medical care.

“Special Taxation Districts. Let’s do the due diligence on the approximately 150 we have. Recently, Castle Rock citizens discovered they are on the hook for nearly $1 billion in shortfalls in their Metro District. These special taxation districts allow developers to tax (levy fees) on the residents for infrastructure and enhancements like roads and fire stations. They should be closely monitored and have reporting standards and oversight that is transparent to the public so the citizens fully understand the risks of buying property in these districts and how they may be adversely impacted in economic downturns.”



Jane Northrup Glenn (Courtesy of the candidate)

Jane Northrup Glenn: “The city is leading the effort to establish smart cities in Colorado by piloting one. I do not know a lot about the SmartCOS strategies, but I am taking steps to learn more. According to “a smart city usesdigital technology to connect, protect, and enhance the lives of citizens. IoT sensors, video cameras, social media, and other inputs act as a nervous system, providing the city operator and citizens with constant feedback so they can make informed decisions.” I have a fundamental problem with the fabric of America woven with this. We need to proceed with caution.

Jaymen Johnson (Courtesy of the candidate)

Jaymen Johnson: “Council salary and its effects on inclusion. We have a system that is built to impede public participation and limit representation. Please allow me to illustrate. Our current council salary structure is roughly $6,000 a year, little more than $500 a month. So how then would, say, a mechanic, or grocery store clerk, or a school teacher, or a nurse, who might have a mortgage, two cars, and dependents be able to even entertain the idea of serving on the council without some special circumstances that enable them to do so? I would assert that their ability to manage a healthy household gives them the practical skills needed to function on city council. But regardless of how impassioned one may be, if finances prohibit even the consideration, what is that individual to do? Current structure hampers greater participation and limits our options for more suitable representation. We need a livable wage for our council to promote greater diversity and inclusion.”

Gorden Klingenschmitt (photo by Pam Zubeck)

Gordon Klingenschmitt: “As a compassionate conservative, I believe experience matters. Other candidates do not share my leadership experience or record. If you care about responsible government, I’m already a proven-effective past legislator. If you care about business and growth, I’ve earned my MBA and founded two successful businesses. If you care about the poor, I’ve led a charity that cares for orphans, widows, veterans and the homeless. If you care about first-responders in uniform, I’m a 20-year honorably discharged veteran who has worn such a uniform. If you care about education, I’ve taught college and support our schools and teachers. If you care about the Constitution, I’ve defended your constitutional rights. If you care about your pocketbook, vote for Gordon Klingenschmitt to lower your taxes. Let’s keep Colorado Springs great.”

Editor’s note: Klingenschmitt graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1991 and served in the Air Force for 11 years before becoming a Navy chaplain in 2002. In 2006, he was found guilty of disobeying an order by wearing his uniform to a political protest at the White House in March 2006, according to TheWashington Post. Simultaneously, Naval officials recommended his “involuntary release” from the Navy “due to lack of career potential,” the Post reported at the time. The New York Times reported in March 2007 that he had been honorably discharged. A letter from the Judge Advocate General’s Corp. to Klingenschmitt barred his “access onto all military installations within Navy Region Mid-Atlantic” after Jan. 31, 2007, according to Klingenschmitt has been quoted widely that his discharge after 16 years cost him a “million dollar pension.”

David Leinweber (Courtesy of the candidate)

David Leinweber: “Amidst the amazing success our city has experienced, somewhere along the way we have forgotten how to love our neighbor. Colorado has the 5th highest suicide rate in the country; El Paso County has the highest rate in the entire state. Addressing mental health issues at the community level is crucial and we need to improve access for professional care, reduce the stigma associated with mental health challenges, develop earlier intervention, increase awareness, and develop stronger support systems. This crisis affects so many aspects of our community’s well-being and as your City Council representative, I will champion this issue.”

Roland Rainey is running for City Council. (Photo courtesy of the candidate.)

Ronald Rainey: “1. Many billion-dollar tech companies are interested in building here in our city. However, many of these corporations hire from outside the city.  How do we hold them accountable to the city from an investment perspective?  Whether that is infrastructure or investing in tech training for potential employees right here in our city? As part of my platform, I would like to see these large companies invest in my idea of a Colorado Springs Tech Job Corps (CSTJC). The CSTJC will aim to provide advance tech training for qualified small business employees, high school graduates, and those blue-collar workers who are willing to advance their skills that may be falling behind due to the swift evolution of technology. In return, these companies will receive a steady pipeline of employees, thus, providing citizens opportunities right here in our city. Hence, kids don’t have to depart Colorado Springs to find better opportunities…those opportunities will reside right here in our city.

“2. Development and Infrastructure upgrades are ‘out of sync.’ While the city may be blossoming from new developments, we are clearly seeing our roadways becoming overly congested (tried driving down Powers or Woodman lately?), commute times across the city have nearly doubled for many (especially for those who commute to Schriever Space Force Base from inside the city), increased traffic is leading to more traffic fatalities, and parking lots are overcrowded. Our City Planning Commission and Developers must remain in lock-step to ensure infrastructure is always at the forefront of any conversation prior to committing to standing up new buildings.

“3. Our city homicide rate has skyrocketed over the past 15 years, nearly leading the nation for a city our size, and we are currently #1 in the nation for car-theft. This topic needs to be interwoven in our conversation on Public Safety.”

Brian Risley (Courtesy of the candidate)

Brian Risley: “As a native of Colorado Springs, a father of a [Colorado Springs School] District 11 student, a small business owner and a concerned citizen, I want my fellow residents to understand my motivations for running for City Council. I am interested in helping make balanced, thoughtful decisions that are in the best interest of our community as a whole. I have seen the evolution of this region over many years and this is a pivotal point for our city – we have made great strides in the last few years and with the right leadership we can build on our achievements. I look forward to working collaboratively with our community to find a common path forward with broad and diverse support.”

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