Transport and climate top of PLAN-Boulder candidate forum
The four remaining candidates for Boulder city council attended the last virtual forum hosted by PLAN-Boulder County on Wednesday.
The event was the second organized by the local advocacy group ahead of a Monday meeting where the group will select candidates for approval. Wednesday’s forum included Matt Benjamin, Michael Christy, Steve Rosenblum and Jacques Decalo, each vying for one of five vacant city council seats.
The other five candidates took part in a forum on Tuesday. Candidate Dan Williams is overseas and will be submitting written responses to the various questions. Both virtual forums and Williams’ responses will be posted on the PLAN-Boulder website.
PLAN-Boulder is one of the groups that spearheaded a voting measure that could require voters to approve the deal in an election before the provision of utilities and municipal services other than flood control facilities to or on any part of the University of Colorado owned by Boulder CU South Property.
Much like Tuesday’s first forum, candidates were asked about their views on CU South’s draft annexation agreement and the measure PLAN-Boulder has worked to put on the ballot. Benjamin is in favor of the annexation agreement, while Decalo, Rosenblum and Christy are more critical.
Yet despite some conversations on the subject, transportation, climate and public safety dominated much of the conversation on Wednesday.
In addition to several questions directly on transport and climate change, the four participating candidates returned to climate and transport when asked about housing and CU South as well.
In Benjamin’s mind, the stakes cannot be decoupled.
“We can’t see these things in a silo,” he said. “Housing is also a transport issue and it is also a climate resilience issue. And so, just thinking about housing itself misses out on much more of what we can accomplish as a community. “
To tackle some of Boulder’s transportation challenges, Rosenblum suggested a few ideas, including encouraging carpooling for people who commute to town for work.
“Boulder should take bold action to reduce the number of people commuting each day in single-person vehicles, which pollute our air, warm our climate, overload our transportation system and make our roads less safe for bikes and pedestrians, ”he said.
Likewise, Christy said it was important for Boulder to be aggressive in tackling traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Expanding the EcoPass program to the county level could be one way to achieve this, he said.
“Generally the way I see it… people drive their vehicles because it’s easier than alternative modes of transportation,” Christy said. “If we can make alternative modes of transportation more attractive and more convenient, I think we can work towards our goals in helping to tackle this problem. “
Climate change and sustainability are central concerns for Decalo, the youngest candidate and the only native of Boulder.
To prepare, Boulder should do all he can, he said.
“From teaching composting and recycling to limiting single-use plastics in schools and teaching kids about sustainability at a small level to possibly implementing a plastic tax.” single-use to reduce the amount of single-use plastic our society generates.