Colorado Springs at-large council candidate questionnaire: Chineta Davis
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KRCC News sent detailed surveys about some of the most critical issues facing city leaders, to the candidates running for the three “at-large” seats on Colorado Springs City Council. The short biography below is gleaned from the candidate's response, their websites and other sources.
Longtime El Paso county resident Chineta Davis’ priorities include affordable housing, health care, transportation and living wages for working families, along with environmental issues like water scarcity and advocating for equity in government. She’s a licensed insurance sales agent with CLDS Business Developers and has previously managed local campaigns for candidates from both parties.
Role and vision
What is your elevator pitch for why voters in Colorado Springs should choose you as the next at-large council representative?
I am running for the Municipal Office of City Council At-Large because I recognize there is no one like me being represented on this important board. I am a long-time resident of El Paso County and the single mother of three grown children. While my struggles to raise my family was sometimes difficult, I was able to provide for my growing family. Times, however, have changed. Home prices have been increasing at such a rate that working families can no longer afford to own or rent homes at affordable prices. The lack of available affordable homes is a major contribution to the stress of families and their children In addition, environmental issues, water availability for our growing community, health care, food insecurity and social equality are some of my special interests. I would like to represent our city in the process of helping City Council provide for the working class Americans.
What do you see as the role and/or function of city government?
I believe our city government has an obligation to provide our community with the basic needs of all people, free from prejudice, discrimination, religious preferences, and party affiliation. We are our brother's keepers and looking out for one another is our city governments responsibility. Handouts and quick fixes are not the job of the City Council. However, providing long-term solutions that preserve the dignity of working class Americans means city officials must consider ways to provide basic needs for those struggling in our changing society. Providing for those working to improve their social status is the job of our city officials. City Council would best be represented if it's members reflected the community for which it serves.
What is the number one challenge facing the next council of Colorado Springs, and how would you address it?
I believe that the biggest issue facing our City Council is the ability to negotiate, compromise, listen and respect different points of view when discussing and determining what the best solutions for our community will be given the research in evidence. Issues such as affordable housing, water security, and transportation are some of the important issues needing discussion.
What is your vision for Colorado Springs in the next 25 years, and what realistic policies do you propose to get us there?
I would like to see responsible growth of Colorado Springs in respect to affordable housing costs for working families. The ability to own one's home and accrue equity for future generations is needed in order for our city to grow responsibly. Wages must be commiserate with cost of living, transportation must be provided throughout the city to ensure accessible work and school access, and local businesses must take priority over out-of-state investors. In 25 years I would like to see a safe, healthy and growing economy reflecting respect and equality in regulations & legislation.
Law enforcement / Public Safety
What is the most pressing public safety issue facing the city and how would you address it?
All individuals posing a serious threat the public should be taken seriously. We need to do a better job insuring our mental health and family services are providing what is needed to our populations. Violence within families working to deal with serious mental health issues need access to services. Stricter consequences for violating public safety concerns should be considered and enforcement of the laws already on the books is needed. Power and wealth should not be a consideration when dealing with public safety issues.
What is your response to the findings from the audit on how the Colorado Springs Police Department uses force? What, if any, changes need to be made to the way CSPD operates?
Training for the CSPD needs to focus on the mental mindset of their officers. Approaching a potentially dangerous situation must be handled with intelligent consideration, evaluation, and decision making designed to de-escalate the situation. Militaristic approaches and ego-motivated aggression exacerbates emotions and violence. Working with communities and listening to our citizens will help educate those responsible for keeping everyone safe.
What do you think of the current relationship between the Colorado Springs Police Department and the public? Is it acceptable or should more be done, and if so, what?
From what I have heard from community members throughout Colorado Springs, our police department has difficulty focusing on real vs imagined dangers. Police officers are seen as unnecessarily aggressive, even when situations do not warrant the force. Questioning individuals who are law-abiding with pre-formed assumptions harms their image. Being non-responsive to individuals in need reflects the lack of concern.
What do you think of the Law Enforcement Transparency and Advisory Commission (LETAC)? What would you do differently with this commission or its purpose if given the chance?
I don't have enough information regarding this program. Transparency is good. Research would have to be done to determine if this program is effective.
Emergency officials are implementing new notification software and other measures in the case of a wildfire or other hazard, but some residents say that isn’t enough. How would you address their concerns?
Again, I don't have enough information regarding this program and research on the effectiveness of the notifications would need to be studies. What do the residents that are unhappy say is needed?
How do you define sustainable and responsible growth, and is the city successful in growing responsibly and sustainably?
Cost of rentals have outpriced ranges for the working population. I believe there must be limits to prices owners can demand for rent based on building ages, square footage, and structural soundness. The importance of affordable housing for working families is paramount and reflects directly on the health of our community. Sustainable and responsible growth must include all socioeconomic opportunities. Rules and regulations must be applied equally for all citizens and growth opportunities provided to everyone. Responsible management of water, air, transportation, and services must insure resources for our future. The city needs to modernize and change rather than rely on past mentalities.
What different approach would you take, if any, to help address housing affordability?
I would give additional incentives to property owners that have vacant or abandoned property to convert these properties to affordable housing properties, and/or temporary and transitional housing. As a person that has worked directly with the homeless in our city, I feel that we should offer indoor relief that is more dignified and includes veterans services, medical assessment, shower, washer/dryer and kitchen access.
Infill is identified in the PlanCOS master plan as a key strategy for the city moving forward, and yet, council is currently debating annexations. How do you define infill and how do you balance it with annexations?
I would have to look further into this term 'infill', but if it refers to improving the structures already in our city, it seems a more logical choice than annexations.
What do you think of the recent water service extension ordinance passed by council and signed by the mayor aimed at limiting annexations based on water supply? What would you have done differently?
I support the restriction of annexations based on water supply. We must insure water rights for the citizens. I support the council and mayor's decision. I don't know what I would have done differently, being that I was not privy to the decision making process.
How do you balance maintaining the character of Colorado Springs with the need for development? What is the character of Colorado Springs?
Colorado Springs has fallen in it's rank of being the number one place to live. I feel the City Council and Public Utilities Board must work together to insure availability to public services to all citizens on a fair and equitable base. Limiting single family homes by outside developers is a must. No building should be approved without detailed plans on sustainability for our communities. Colorado Springs can be characterized and small local economies couched in a large city. Our neighborhood's security, transportation accessibilities and local businesses should provide all the basic needs of a small community. We need to work toward becoming the number one place to live again.
Transportation / Infrastructure
What is the most important infrastructure project needed in Colorado Springs right now, and how would you address it?
First, public transportation throughout Colorado Springs is needed. Particular focus needs to be focused on the southeast areas of our city, as these citizens need improved and reliable routes and time schedules. Road and highway maintenance is always needed as increased traffic required constant monitoring. I would need additional information on the infrastructural needs of our city before I can make suggestions on improvements.
How do you feel about the transportation options currently available in Colorado Springs? What plans, if any, do you have to increase options for reliable public transportation?
Again, right now, I see a basic need for the southeast areas to get reliable public transportation routes and options.
What are your thoughts about expanding the use of active transportation like bicycles or walking? Should it be a primary focus and if so, what should be done?
Active transportation such as bicycles or walking sounds great, However, several areas of our city do not have convenient local businesses available within bicycling and walking distance. Neighborhood eateries, groceries, banking, and retail options are needing to be promoted in local areas so community members can access them without having to own cars.
Parks & Open Space, Economy & Other
General Palmer's original vision for the city of Colorado Springs was that of a planned community, built around its natural beauty and environment. Do you agree with that vision, and if so, how do you plan to stay true to it?
I believe a serious look at the encroachment of these communities on outdoor spaces needs to be reconsidered. Being so close to natural areas requires strict rules & enforcement of those rules regarding any abuse of these areas. Wildlife protection and forest services must be provided the finances & tools to ensure these areas safe, not only to the communities, but also to the natural environment in which they are placed.
What do you see as the current state of economic diversity, and where does the city have the opportunity to grow?
I believe there is a number of improvements needed to achieve economic diversity in our community. As already addressed, affordable housing, transportation, and local community business growth are some of the ways I believe we can improve such diversity. In addition, mixed housing and a database of homeless individuals and facilities to address their needs are all areas for growth. The city has an opportunity to grow from the inside out. Less focus on new single family homes by out-of-state developers and more focus on the renovation of existing structure to provided needed services, including affordable housing, can heal our city and improve diversity.
Is the city doing enough to address the issue of people experiencing homelessness? What, if anything, would you do differently?
I believe we need a database of the homeless population, their names, origins, circumstances, physical and mental health status, and their basic needs. With research-based data, better decisions can be made in regards to what our city can reasonably do to improve the lives of our citizens. Affordable housing is a must, but also dignified indoor relief units where showers, medical and psychological care, and work opportunities can be offered when needed. A ‘one way fits all’ solution is a simple, ineffective ‘fix.’ Let’s collect the date and evaluate solutions based on facts.
What is your stance on if and when to ask voters to retain funds that exceed the cap imposed by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR)?
I know the TABOR funds are important to many Colorado Springs citizens. I don't know enough about the details, however, to respond comfortably to this question.
Who are your top three campaign donors?
John Crowe, Calvin Rumth, & Renee' Bluebird
Would you support city councilors receiving a living wage or salary as opposed to the annual stipend of $6,250?
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs?
Would you support creating an independent board for Colorado Springs Utilities, rather than having council serve as the board?
Do you support Front Range Rail?
Do you support extending Constitution Avenue?
Is the city adequately addressing climate change and adaptation?
Do you support the ballot measure that extends the TOPS sales tax?
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