Colorado Springs City Council Election 2021, District 4: Regina English And Yolanda L. Avila On The Issues

This April, all six Colorado Springs City Council districts are up for election. District 4 can be loosely described as the southeast part of town. Platte Avenue is roughly its northern border, Union Boulevard and Interstate 25 to its west, Milton E. Proby Parkway and Fontaine Boulevard to the south, and on the east, out past Marksheffel Road.

Two people are running to represent District 4. KRCC used social media to solicit questions from the public to see what issues are important to voters. We then used those responses to create a survey, which was sent to all candidates. Their answers as submitted are here.

Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6, either by mail or through the use of a ballot drop-off box. If returning by mail, the City Clerk recommends mailing the ballot at least nine days in advance of election day. Proper postage is required.

The candidates appear here in the order they are set on the ballot.

Candidate Elevator Pitch

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: When I first ran for City Council in 2017, I saw a desperate need for real representation in Southeast Colorado Springs. After nearly four years, we’ve accomplished a great deal of change in many areas, including improved roads, bridges, and sidewalks and better public transit. I am running for reelection to make sure that the progress continues. The experience and knowledge I’ve gained will help me continue the fight to put Southeast Colorado Springs on a level playing field with the rest of the City.

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What purpose does city government serve for its citizens?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: City government is responsible for many of the services we use every day, including the roads, bridges and sidewalks that connect our communities, the public transit system that allows many of us to move around the city, and the police and firefighters who keep us safe. City government is also responsible for the decisions that impact our neighborhoods - whether it be land use decisions that determine how neighborhoods are developed or the creation and funding of parks, open spaces, and trails that make our neighborhoods unique. Finally, the city government serves our citizens by making budgetary decisions consistent with the priorities set by the citizens.

What are your Top 3 priorities?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: My top three priorities upon re-election are to improve our infrastructure through the construction and repair of roads, bridges, and sidewalks, economic development through urban renewal projects that create retail space, common services and affordable housing, and continued progress on improving our public transit system by increasing fixed routes and frequency. To accomplish these priorities, I will continue to work with the mayor, city staff, and council, as well as with community partners and organizations, to keep our attention focused on these priorities.

Candidate Comparison

Where do the candidates stand on the issues? We've lined up a comparison below. For more in-depth information, click on either "Yes," "No," or "It's Complicated."

On The Issues

As Colorado Springs continues to grow, development has increased and rents and housing prices have gone up. What are your ideas for balancing growth with supporting that which is already here?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: For new development, flex zoning gives the City the opportunity to have multi-family housing in all areas of town. It also gives developers the opportunity to be a bit more creative. I’d like to explore requirements to include an affordable housing component for new development.

For existing development, I support efforts like ADUs to create affordable housing. We also need to ensure that our zoning code is in line with our efforts to encourage and maintain affordable housing.

Should Colorado Springs continue to spread out and grow to the north and east, or should the city focus on more and denser infill projects within city limits?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: I support a focus on infill projects within city limits. It is inevitable that we will continue to grow, but we must do so responsibly - ensuring that connectivity, quality of life, and economic opportunities are available for all of our residents.

What should be the city's infrastructure investments over the next 10-20 years?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: Repairing and upgrading roads, bridges, and sidewalks, but we need to do so in a way that incorporates best practices, such as planting trees along boulevards to decrease the heat island effect or incorporating low impact development to address the inevitable stormwater runoff. We also need a concerted investment in multimodal transportation systems -- more and more people are looking for alternatives to a car. The city needs to ensure that new development incorporates those options - and we need to look for ways to incorporate multimodal transportation in existing neighborhoods.

What do you see as priorities or gaps in efforts for economic diversification?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: The city has focused on economic diversification recently - attracting and encouraging investments in the medical field and cybersecurity are two examples. However, at least two areas need attention - providing affordable and attainable housing, and investing in workforce training and retraining so that our own citizens can take advantage of these economic opportunities.

As the city celebrates its sesquicentennial, what do you see as the number one success of the city in the last 150 years, and what is the number one issue the city has not gotten right, either through lack of trying or some other reason?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: The number one success was Palmer's initial investment in trees, parks and higher education - that set the tone and a direction for the city to aspire and become one of the most livable communities in the country. What we have not "gotten right" is how we manage the inevitable growth that flows from being such a desirable place to live. We need to focus on community connectivity - how will future residents want to get around?

Is there anything specific you'd hope to prioritize on the council?

Regina English: Candidate did not respond to the survey.

Yolanda L. Avila: As a city, we need to embrace our diversity. That means a city and utilities workforce that reflects our population. By embracing our diversity and amplifying it, we will make ourselves richer.

Editor's Note: The district was originally described as the southwest part of Colorado Springs, rather than southeast. This post has been corrected.