The people have spoken. Live-tweet coming to you in 4(ish) minutes.
You can catch the livestream here
"It really feels like opening day of the election season," says the Chamber's Andrea Meneghel.

Sure, thinks this reporter, who has been interviewing candidates since May!
Closing day can't come fast enough.
Who are the 10 certified candidates? (in ABC order)
Matt Benjamin
Michael Christy
Jacques Decalo
Lauren Folkerts
Nicole Speer
Steven Rosenblum
David Takahashi
Mark Wallach (current council member)
Dan Williams
Tara Winer
Unclear if they're all here tonight. I suppose we'll soon see.
Not sure how much context I'll be able to add. I've interviewed 6 of the 10 so far, and spoken with all of them. I can fact check, of course, or add context on issues. Unless they talk too fast, which happens.
Doing intros and short stump speeches now. Benjamin talks about the need for a diverse and inclusive city, and references his prior run for council in 2017 plus service on election/campaign finance reform working group.
Christy is a lawyer, veteran former JAG officer with AF, and serves on the Cannabis Licensing Advisory Board. He thinks his mediator experience will help "bring ppl together" to work on "reasonable solutions."
Decalo is our only Boulder native candidate. He works for Tesla. Talks about sustainability and taking the "city off the grid," water conservation and the cost of housing.
Folkerts, architect who served on the Design Advisory Board. Talks about her experience with sustainable design, creative problem solving.
Rosenblum, economist and finance expert, is running because he loves Boulder. "Real love is not just saying I love you. It's an active process" that includes speaking hard truths. Promises to "find common ground" and deliver housing.
Dr. Speer (I always forget that Dr.) says she's a leader who listens to and empowers her workers and ppl with expertise, then "gets out of the way." Mentions housing, homelessness, diversity, climate crisis.
Takahashi: "I know climate change. I know homelessness." He lost his home in the 2010 Fourmile Fire. Focuses on climate change.
Wallach, our only incumbent, ambles to the mic. Mentions public safety, affordable housing, and drug addiction/mental illness services for unhoused residents. Says he is a "substantive, critical-thinking member of council."
Williams is attending remotely. He's an attorney with HSBC (you'll know him from the Bedrooms lawsuit). Talks about housing and racial equity. "I'm running to make sure our reality matches our rhetoric."
Also climate change, at the v end.
Winer, a member of the Parks & Rec advisory board, mentions her business leadership and ability to solve complex problems. "I love it and I'm great at it." She also helped organize the Chautauqua shuttle service. Mentions pragmatism as well.
Now we're getting to the issues. Should be fun.
Williams is remote bc it's his 25th wedding anniversary and he's in Switzerland.
Former councilwoman Jill Grano is helping to MC. She's taking a position with the Chamber soon. (She works for Neguse right now)
Japango owner and Downtown Boulder Partnership rep Jon Banis asks about the city's excessive red tape.
Speer and Folkerts taking this one.

Folkerts says short-term, we could fast-track some projects as we did during COVID. Ones that "support community goals" or help small biz.
Long-term, "I think we need to take a serious look at overhauling our building code." Our new planning head did this at his last job, so he has the experience.
Speer has personal experience, trying to get a deck extension permit. It took 6 months.

Council shouldn't be working on this level of detail, she says. This is an operational issue. Council should empower staff and the city manager.
Banis (who is repping the DBP) asks about homelessness. "How will you educate and inform yourself" based on policy.

Rosenblum and Benjamin fielding this q.
Rosenblum: I've already done the work. Spent 5 years researching homelessness and provided some housing. "The only solution to homelessness is housing."

"I understand challenges landlords face and the unhoused face in getting into housing."
Also references a "serious meth" addiction issue in connection with homelessness.
Benjamin: We should lead with empathy. There's issues of safety and how do we take care of ppl who are in terrible positions of their life.

We should provide greater services, access to basic hygiene and housing rather than criminalizing.
"We should not be afraid to fail in trying all things we can to help those who are most vulnerable in our community," he says.
Tatiana Hernandez from the Community Foundation asks about lessons learned from COVID and preparing for future uncertainties.

Williams and Wallach on this one.
Williams: "We can take some public spaces and devote them to ppl and cars, putting ppl first. It makes us a stronger city overall." Specifically references the west end of Pearl.
But he got in a reference to equity first, and how the pandemic revealed disparities that need fixed in income, race/ethnicity, access to health care, etc.
Wallach's biggest lesson is how much staff is capable of. "I'm v proud of them and what they've done."

Also the need to partnership with other orgs and gov't.
Hernandez: Describe what influences your decision making process. Data, lived experience, more reliance on boards/commissions?

Takahashi, Christy fielding this q.
Takahashi: "Engaging the public is the gold standard. We have such a wonderful, deep, intelligent public here that we actually waste."
Christy recalling his time as a JAG judge and a person he "knew was guilty." Based his decision instead on data and evidence, which he would do on council.

"There are two sides to every story." Again, mentions bringing sides together.
And lived experience — his and those of others — factors, too.
Meneghel asking on behalf of the Chamber: What's vital to economic vitality? How would you support it? Do you support more job growth?

Decalo and Winer answering this q.
Decalo says big co should "pay their fair share" to be in town.

And our first cryptocurrency reference!
I have LOL'ed twice at this forum. Now, and when Christy said he was an intern in the Clinton White House.

No one else laughed either time. Tough crowd. Or maybe just polite.
Winer, biz owner and Chamber member: We need to keep Boulder "vibrant and exciting." Shouts out Ball and CU, but references how hard it is to keep co as they grow bc housing is so expensive for the workforce.

We need more housing, not less jobs.
Melissa Barry of Urban Land Institute with a q to Takahashi and Benjamin. It's a specific one about Boulder Junction and finishing that project (Transit Village Area Plan).
Basically, should we prioritize finishing it?
Takahashi: "We're off to a good start." Phase 2 could be carbon neutral, making it more affordable to live and do biz there.

(Debatable, since it's pricey upfront, but he means in terms of lower operating costs so... fair-ish)
He supports it 100%.
Benjamin: This gets at "how we move the needle. We have to work and multi-task." Need to start "on the next project." But need to finish this bc it gets at our housing, transportation and climate goals. "It checks all the boxes."
"These are exactly the types of things we should be doing." And we should do more of them in Boulder.
Barry with another ULI q: How should Boulder support affordable housing, diversity, climate, etc. through redevelopment?
Speer and Folkerts on this.

Speer: "They really tie together for me, around the topic of housing and inclusion." How can we create more housing diversity. Inclusion should begin with council, boards/commissions and any city group. Work should be paid.
"Volunteering is a privilege," she says.
Folkerts echoes Speer. "These are great locations for us to create high levels of affordability." (Question referenced Alpine Balsam, east Boulder specifically)

Need to open up flexibility of housing options and pair them with gov't interventions/subsidies.
Sue Prant from Community Cycles, to Rosenblum and Wallach: Other cities have reallocated street space for biking, walking and away from cars. How would you incentivize and support transportation goals?
Rosenblum: In-commuters are driving more and from farther away. Says we should ask for our $$ back from the long-promised train to use on local transit solutions. Advocates for "safe north-south bike lane" and dares to say "right-sizing."
Referencing the 2015 Folsom debacle that many have moved on from, but some have not.
Wallach: We've given street space to restaurants during COVID, which I support. "I'm less concerned" about how much ppl are driving than that they are not electric cars. We need to promote EVs.
A Wallach sigh! Didn't know we'd need the Sigh-O-Meter tonight.
I LOL'ed. Still the only one laughing in this whole room.
Prant again, to Decalo and Williams: How do we fix public transit without relying on RTD?
Decalo rode the bus growing up here. Says we should "take a note" from Golden and start an autonomous small shuttle, suggests getting $$ from local big co. And says autonomous driving is the way of the future.
Williams: Transportation and social equity goals should be tackled in tandem. We can work with RTD; we have to. But the city of Longmont pays for its buses to be free. We need frequent, inexpensive services.

Letting more ppl live in Boulder would help, too.
Julie Van Domelen from EFAA, repping Human Services Alliance (group of nonprofit orgs): "We are the bulk of the safety net." How will you support that as we come out of COVID? How do you prioritize that spending?
Christy: "We need to look at what the fallout was from COVID, what lessons we learned. Let there be no mistake: We're not through the COVID pandemic. We will continue to struggle."
Dedicate resources to "the most vulnerable" and the "most in need," he says. For now, use federal $$. In the future, keep working with the Alliance.
Winer: Eviction prevention and rental assistance is the most important, to me. "That's a great way to fight homelessness. .. It really doesn't take that much help for ppl to make it to the next paycheck."
Felt like neither one of those answers were actually the answer to that q, but they got at pieces of it.
Greg Harms from Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, but repping the Alliance: We have a labor shortage, including in human services sector. What would you do to address livable wages?
Folkerts: "A big portion of our workforce shortage has to do with affordable and attainable housing. We're going to continue to see difficulty hiring until ppl can live reasonably within our community." Wages are "the other side" of that.
Suggests a higher local minimum wage. "Boulder should be pushing that to happen quickly and with a wage that makes sense for our community," Folkerts says.
Speer: This also comes down to housing for me. I support quick, stopgap solutions like relaxing regs on ADUs, occupancy limits. "We need these fast-action solution to keep ppl in our community."
Long-term, we need a greater diversity of housing, Speer says. This helps our climate goals, too. Wants to see some pilot projects around housing as well.
Brett Sawyer, repping the local realtor association: What specific strategies do you support regarding land use changes?
Benjamin: We have a housing crisis. You have to give credit to the city for leveraging $$ for affordable housing. But we don't have investment in middle-income housing. Land use "is really the only tool we have" to support that.
Benjamin: 85% of land is limited to Single-family homes. We're fitting all our housing in 15% of residential land (those numbers are close but maybe not exactly right) We should allow more housing types near transit.
Decalo echoes the need for zoning changes to allow duplexes, triplexes, and local biz.

Otherwise kinda a ramble-y answer.
Sawyer again asks about housing. Pretty much the same question.
But focused on the workforce.
Wallach: The biggest driver of housing costs are land costs. We need to take land that we own and convert those to housing. "We can dictate what goes there" and require more affordable housing. Mentions the planning reserve and airport (a pet project of his)
Winer: "We cannot put all ppl in a box." There need to be options. Families don't want apartments, so they choose to live in surrounding communities.
"We're never going to have enough housing for all the people who want to live here. We're just not," Winer says, so we need to think about "mobility hubs" as well, with van pools, bike commuting, etc.
Ricardo Cabrera from the Latino Chamber, starts by asking who speaks Spanish. Speer, Rosenblum and Christy raise their hands. (Christy's looked kinda half-raised)
He asked what their experience is working with diverse businesses and biz owners.
Williams: Much of my career has focused on diversity. Going over the work he did in the wake of the George Floyd murder, including an initiative at his law firm.
Christy also talking about his work as a family lawyer, which included a lot of pro bono work with Latinx community.
Cabrera again: What are your strategies to support small biz and nonprofits, specifically Latino and minority-owned biz?
Rosenblum references his Cuban wife and grandmother, and the biz he works for, which is minority owned. All the COVID stimulus got "sucked up" by big biz. City should help guide small biz to get federal help.
Also references help for workers who need rental assistance "so they're not evicted and they can get back on the job."
Takahashi, our only non-white candidate: "It would behoove us to take a regional approach. Partner with state, other municipalities" and get ppl to the table who are being affected.
One last issue q from Meneghel on CU South: Do you support the annexation of CU South within the general framework of the existing agreement?
Keeping in light the ballot issue that voters have yet to weigh in on, and the lawsuit that's been threatened if annexation is done first.
Benjamin: "It actually comes down to a simple premise. Do you support saving lives? I do. So I fully support the annexation agreement." Work has been goin on "for decades."
Also talks about all Boulder is getting: Proper housing, height limits, transportation improvements. But most importantly, protecting lives.
All candidates are going to be answering this one, btw. Which is a good call.
Speer says ditto to Benjamin. The criteria I'm using is what we're getting: Housing, protecting lives, and getting open space. She lives right next door to CU South. She, however, couldn't vote bc she works for the university. But she fully supports. "We get so much in return."
Williams also supports. It's critical flood safety, critical housing for students and community members. It adds open space. "The next council as well is going to have to work hard" to get flood control in place, and quickly.
Decalo also supports "what the regents have put in place so far."

Fact check: They have OK'd it, but the didn't do much in the way of day-to-day negotiations, is my understanding.
LOL first reference to hemp!
(Decalo works for a hempcrete company)
Winer: "I totally am for flood mitigation." BUT she agrees with the Daily Camera's Julie Marshall, wants to de-couple flood mitigation from annexation.

Fact check: CU is not on board with this.
Also likes some things in the current agreement, like open space. And says the agreement has gotten "better and better."
Folkerts supports annexation. "It is the result of more than a decade of smart ppl working really hard." It provides flood protection, housing, open space, trail improvements. "We cannot leave vulnerable residents unprotected."
Rosenblum: Public safety is the No. 1 priority of government. We're going to get amazing housing and open space. Says negotiations have "been going on in earnest for a couple months"

Fact check: Longer than a couple months
Trusts council to get a good plan but we shouldn't negotiate "with a gun to our head. That's what CU has been doing with Frasier Meadows residents."
Christy also says "we should not be held hostage when it comes to flood mitigation."

Safety is important. Would like to see "tighter language," specifically around de-annexation.
Also likes Julie Marshall's Camera op-ed, which suggested CU give the city an easement on its land for flood mitigation and let annexation happen later.
Takahashi: "It's such a contentious issue that it could use some civil discourse and persuasion. Let democracy work."
Didn't really answer, but he's written to council that he's not super stoked on doing annexation quickly.
Wallach: "If you accept the need for flood mitigation, which I do, there is really no alternative but to negotiate with CU" for the best deal we can get. "It is an agreement I can support. I have looked at this, I have looked at the evidence with as much detail as I can."
Big applause for Wallach, who (as he pointed out) is the only person up here who actually has to vote on this.
Last q: Your legacy. What do you want to leave?
Benjamin: I'm more worried about what my kids will eat for dinner tonight than my legacy. But mine would be "are we actually reaching our goals to be a more climate resilient community?" That means being "aggressive" with housing and transportation.
In 2-4 years, I'd like to see us change our election system to ranked choice voting, which will disincentivize negative campaigning and bring a more cooperative environment.
(That was Benjamin)
Christy: I want to be known as someone who listens to ppl, who was pragmatic and reasonable, and able to minimize divisiveness. "I was not aware that Boulder is as polarized as it is. It needs to stop."
Would like to see services to ppl in encampments that they need so we no longer have ppl sleeping on our creek paths, Christy says.
Decalo: I'd like my legacy to be changing Boulder to a carbon neutral city, to be "the extreme city" when it comes to climate change.
Folkerts: We need to address the housing crisis, by a variety of types and models; the climate crisis by following through our planned goals; and diversity/inclusivity by making sure ppl get their needs met.
Rosenblum: "Results. The only measure of someone's legacy should be results." "Did we get there through processes that are respectful and inclusive?"
He vows to denounce smear campaigns and to "elevate" the language in our politics. Also vows transparency.
Speer: "My vision is of a city where all of us can thrive, including the biz that sustain us." Walkable, bikeable, ppl live where they work and have access to arts and culture and recreation.
Also resilience to disasters.
I think it was around candidate Folkerts that we switched from answering the q at hand to stump speeches.
Takahashi takes us back to the legacy q: Mine is 80 yrs down the road. I hope council "looks back and says the early 2020s is when it started to turn around."
Doesn't say how or in what way, but from talking to him I know: Climate
Wallach: I do hope in a few years my colleagues and I will be viewed as good stewards who brought Boulder through "perhaps the worst 2 years in memory" in a way that left the community better than we started.
So glad he references Sisyphus, bc that is literally my headline for his re-election profile: Mark Wallach wants to keep pushing the rock up the hill
Have to say, all these candidates have been remarkably consistent with their interviews (the ones I've talked to, at least)
Williams: "This isn't about my legacy. This is about what kind of city we want moving forward. Do we want Boulder to be a place for all of us?"
Mentions housing, diversity/inclusion and small biz.
Winer: "I'm a voice of reason, I'm a problem solver. ... What I would like my legacy to be is the safety and accessibility of Boulder Creek" and downtown.
Winer: Also economic vitality to biz and arts. This is what's important to me, but I want to know what's important to you. I'd be representing you. Tell me what's important to you.
I think that is the end. It is for me and this thread, anyway.
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