Colorado Springs municipal election: Voter guide | How to make sure your vote is counted | How campaign finances are playing out in the election | Extending the TOPS Tax | Mayor's race | At-large council race | District 3 council race
KRCC News sent detailed surveys about some of the most critical issues facing city leaders, to the candidates running for the Colorado Springs mayoral seat. The short biography below is gleaned from the candidate’s response, their websites and other sources.
Sallie Clark is a long-time local businesswoman turned regional politician. She served as a former city councilor and El Paso County commissioner. Most recently, Clark worked for the USDA during the Trump Administration as the Colorado State Director for USDA Rural Development. Clark champions her experience at all levels of government. She also speaks of a collaborative approach to leadership.
According to city records, Clark ran for mayor previously in 1999 and 2003, prior to voters approving a shift to a strong mayor form of government in 2011.
Role and vision
What is your elevator pitch for why voters in Colorado Springs should choose you as the next mayor?
I am the only mayoral candidate with broad experience serving at all levels of government: local-state-national. My skillset includes executive director experience and management skills at the state and national levels of government as well as a former councilmember and county commissioner. I am a successful small-business owner for 37 years and a military wife married for 42 years. I know the difficulties of running a small-business, making payroll, managing employees, paying taxes, and responding to unfunded government mandates. My top three priorities are public safety, reducing homelessness and championing affordable housing. I will engage residents, community and business leaders in setting measurable objectives for our city’s future. We are at a critical tipping point in our community. I love this magnificent place and will work to maintain and improve our quality of life in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region as we grow.
What do you see as the role and/or function of city government?
To provide for public safety, roads and transportation, parks and open space and maintain quality of life for the citizens of Colorado Springs.
What is the number one challenge facing the next mayor of Colorado Springs, and how would you address it?
Homelessness: We can do better. As Mayor, I will bring together a diverse group of allies to collaborate and tackle the root causes of homelessness and deaths. I will engage leaders from healthcare; behavioral health; human services; coroner’s office; criminal justice; employment; education; job training; shelters; transitional, permanent, and affordable housing; anti-domestic violence advocates; veteran and military organizations; the faith-based community; neighborhoods; local businesses; people in recovery; and regional, state, and national experts. We will quickly learn about successes in our city and review successes of other cities. We will replicate accomplishments and learn from mistakes. We will adopt strategies that are proven to be the most effective. We will innovate, tailoring solutions to each individual person, not a “one size fits all” approach. For more details on my plan, visit my website blog page at https://sallieclarkmayor.com/sallie-clarks-blog-homelessness-and-community-solutions/
What is your vision for Colorado Springs in the next 25 years, and what realistic policies do you propose to get us there?
The Mayor and the city must be engaged in economic development planning, with relationships throughout the region: the military and the business community and be more involved with other large city mayors throughout Colorado as well as the state of Colorado and federal agencies. There must be an emphasis on primary jobs that pay a living wage to ensure that families do not have to spend more than 30% of their income on housing. The city can also look for ways to adapt to changing workforce needs such as remote work and flex hours for certain types of jobs. As Mayor, I will collaborate with housing resources, the Housing Authority at both the City and El Paso County. Our city is magnificent. We must maintain our quality of life for generations to come and I will be a solutions-oriented Mayor.
Law enforcement / Public Safety
What is the most pressing public safety issue facing the city and how would you address it?
Our community must be safe. A well-staffed and supported police and fire department is key. I will engage departments, understand what has been tried, and initiate new efforts. We must consider bonuses for peer recruitment, retention incentives, competitive pay, benefits in line with comparable cities, continuing education, providing personal liability insurance, and promotional opportunities. We will ensure our team is supported by highly trained front-line supervisors, their chain of command, city council, and the mayor. We will review and adopt successful recruitment and retention strategies other departments have used. Longer term, we will grow our own workforce through community outreach.
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?
I will work to increase community engagement and training opportunities for our law enforcement.
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?
I believe we have a good relationship in our city with law enforcement and must provide them with the training and tools to do the job right.
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 will be reviewing all appointed boards and commissions to determine if improvements are needed.
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?
Additional wildfire evacuation modeling, transparency in plans, citizen engagement and adoption of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1616 which is a national standard. Reconvene a working group to update the current ordinance and address citizen concerns.
How do you define sustainable and responsible growth, and is the city successful in growing responsibly and sustainably?
Our resources will determine our growth policies, water being one of the most important. Within the first 90 days, I will convene a regional task force to discuss long term planning for our services: utilities, public safety, parks and open space and transportation systems.
What different approach would you take, if any, to help address housing affordability?
Working collaboratively with the nonprofits, the building industry and neighborhoods to determine cost-effective partnerships to leverage, build and maintain housing options.
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?
Current zoning should be respected while also allowing for flexible zoning where appropriate. Neighborhood involvement is a key to good planning and growth.
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?
First, we must assure that water and utility needs are met for the future. I will convene a Mayor’s water planning task force within my first 90 days to partner with stakeholders from the city, county, water providers, and citizens. As a councilmember and county commissioner, I led the effort to establish the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District which laid the groundwork for additional water resources through the Southern Delivery System (SDS) pipeline expansion from Pueblo Reservoir. We should not preclude annexations, but must assure that we plan for utility resources, public safety, parks and open space and infrastructure as a region, including the county commissioners in discussions with long range planning efforts to avoid sprawl and density that may not be in our best interests or that of our residents. See my blog at: https://sallieclarkmayor.com/sallie-clark-announces-support-for-task-force-to-establish-critical-water-policy/
How do you balance maintaining the character of Colorado Springs with the need for development? What is the character of Colorado Springs?
Ensuring our unique neighborhoods are preserved while new growth is planned to maintain the character and history of our city.
Transportation / Infrastructure
What is the most important infrastructure project needed in Colorado Springs right now, and how would you address it?
Street and pothole repair, road/curb/gutter maintenance and improving our transit system.
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?
Review the bus/transit system and look for ways to improve hours of operations, complexity of transfers and ensure that it is accessible and more convenient than it currently operates.
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?
As an option to motorized transportation, I would support new opportunities to collaborate with multi-model transportation.
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?
Yes. I support the extension of the TOPS tax as I did when I served on city council in early 2000.
What do you see as the current state of economic diversity, and where does the city have the opportunity to grow?
Additional primary jobs and economic development must be a priority. We must plan better for growth related to services and infrastructure.
Is the city doing enough to address the issue of people experiencing homelessness? What, if anything, would you do differently?
See my previous answer and visit my website at ElectClark.com to read my blog on solutions to homelessness.
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 support TABOR and have in my previous positions, requested retention based on specific project needs by referring to the citizens and the ballot.
Who are your top three campaign donors?
Individuals (over 380 donors currently) and business owners. Complete campaign finance information details are available at coloradosprings.gov
Would you support city councilors receiving a living wage or salary as opposed to the annual stipend of $6,250?
Candidate did not answer.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado Springs?
Candidate did not answer.
Would you support creating an independent board for Colorado Springs Utilities, rather than having council serve as the board?
Candidate did not answer.
Do you support Front Range Rail?
Candidate did not answer.
Do you support extending Constitution Avenue?
Is the city adequately addressing climate change and adaptation?
Candidate did not answer.
Do you support the ballot measure that extends the TOPS sales tax?
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