A look at candidates for District 1 special election

Three vie to replace Joe Jefferson in city’s north-northwestern district

Posted 4/30/18

A board member of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Citizens Alliance for a Sustainable Englewood and the president of CyGen Technologies face each other in the special …

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A look at candidates for District 1 special election

Three vie to replace Joe Jefferson in city’s north-northwestern district

Posted

A board member of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Citizens Alliance for a Sustainable Englewood and the president of CyGen Technologies face each other in the special election for the vacant District 1 seat on the Englewood City Council.

Scott Danford, Othoniel Sierra and Carson Green are running to replace Joe Jefferson, who stepped down Jan. 8 to take the municipal judge seat he won in the Nov. 7 election.

Jefferson’s absence on the now six-member council created a deadlock among councilmembers in appointing a replacement for him. Green, Sierra and Danford were among the applicants the city council narrowed the choice down to before declaring the impasse that made the special election necessary.

The winner of the election may break the 3-3 split on a council that has not yet chosen a councilmember to succeed Jefferson, the former mayor. The council can technically choose a mayor without a seventh member seated but has preferred to wait.

Each candidate answered four questions:

• Why should you represent District 1?

• What is the most important issue in the city as a whole right now? Why?

• How should the city respond to population growth and density?

• How should the city prepare for its projected $77 million need for capital improvements?

Carson Green

Green is president of CyGen Technologies, a company he helped build that sells software to businesses. He is the former chair of the Englewood Board of Adjustment and Appeals, a quasi-judicial board that reviews variance requests and appeals of the city’s zoning regulations and building codes.

In his words:

I care about the character and quality of life of our community. My background is in efficiently collaborating with others to design and implement quality solutions to complex problems within budget constraints. I have been participating in local government by serving on the Englewood Board of Adjustment and Appeals for 12 years. I will be a thorough and fair representative for my neighbors and all of Englewood in working toward good decisions for our city.

I am focused on learning what is most important to our community and working to address those concerns as priority. By knocking on doors, hosting meet-and-greets, participating in community events and hearing from people online, I have learned a lot about what my fellow citizens care about. The most common concerns I’ve heard about are in regard to the rapid change of neighborhood character and density, as well as construction-related issues.

Englewood’s perfect location and smaller-town charm will inevitably continue to attract people and various development and redevelopment projects. It is important for the city to honor property rights, but also to protect what makes Englewood great. The increase in density should be carefully managed by ensuring that the responsibilities the city does have are covered adequately. I think it is also important to thoughtfully assess the results of current policy and make adjustments appropriately to ensure that the quality of life for Englewood’s existing and new citizens be the best it can be.

Prioritization based on thorough evaluation of the details, and the reality of the budget, must guide decisions. We should utilize all available input and expertise to identify what to address immediately, and what to plan for next and into the future. We should consider partnerships only if the deals are good for citizens for the long term. Council must work together to make difficult decisions in an informed and open-minded way within a balanced budget.

Othoniel Sierra

Sierra is a member of the Citizens Alliance for a Sustainable Englewood (CASE), a group that asked the city last summer to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by the year 2025. He’s a senior sales executive for a company called IHS, and he’s also worked for Carlson Mortgage Company.

In his words:

I have lived and worked in Englewood for the past nine years and am a father whose son attends kindergarten at Charles Hay World School. I love the direction Englewood has been moving the last few years with the increase of business along South Broadway. As a young parent, I could bring energy, a different perspective and new ideas to city council to help improve the community for all residents.

Based on feedback I’m hearing from residents, zoning and growth is the top issue. Other issues I would like to work with council on would be reducing homelessness, decreasing crime and attracting more smart commercial growth opportunities like a food-centric marketplace similar to Stanley Marketplace or The Source in Denver. Improving communication with citizens should also be a priority.

I moved to Englewood because of its small-town feel and because Englewood is a great place to raise a family. I see no reason to change the zoning that brought many of us here to Englewood but do see an opportunity to grow within the existing commercial areas of Englewood. There are currently many parking lots in and around the former Cinderella City that could benefit from mixed-use development as well as a community destination, such as a food-centric marketplace.  It’s something that would build community and provide a fun, local destination while also increasing commercial revenue.

The first step would be to work with the city manager and council to understand the current plan. Second, we should research grants at the state and federal level that are available to offset these expenses. We will need to create a master plan with the community that aligns with the goals of the citizens of Englewood and on an annual basis look at the budget projections to determine what the city can afford.  

Scott Danford

Danford is a board member of the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce, a marketing consultant and local owner of Welcomemat Services South Metro Denver, which provides direct-mail packages with marketing materials from local businesses to new residents of an area. Before that, he had a career across several telecommunications companies.

In his words:

I love and believe in Englewood. I’m a dad, a husband, a local business owner, a Colorado native, a volunteer and proud Englewood citizen. I am also caring, compassionate and dedicated to the progress and improvement of our great city. I am running for city council so that I can make sure that our residents have a greater voice in city matters, and to ensure that the council is focused on the needs of our residents and businesses alike.

The issue that stands out to me is sustainability … I want to see our community as a place where the needs of everyone in the community are met and people feel safe, healthy and ultimately happy. A city in which our environment is appreciated, protected and enhanced, and damage to the environment is minimized. If we have consideration for all social, economic and environmental aspects of a vibrant city, we can assure ourselves a successful future.

Growth isn’t going to stop, but we can plan accordingly and make it positive for all. We need to embrace the idea of smart growth. This approach to development will encourage a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods, and community engagement. But with all the growth and development, we must be understanding of the needs of our residents. It is important that we study the impact of growth and solicit feedback from our citizens ... By working together, we can ensure that Englewood continues to be a great place for residents and businesses to grow and thrive.

We certainly have options for funding improvements, including tax increases, government bond/debt, grants and/or public-private partnerships. But while some funding options are viable for certain projects, others are not. That is why clear and concise planning and prioritization is so important. I will (be) continually looking at ways to reduce our operational expenses and control spending but (also) growing our sales/use tax revenues through support of our local businesses.

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