Editor’s note: This is one in a series of guest op-eds by candidates for municipal government races written for CompleteColorado.com.
The 2015 Westminster City Council race is quite unique. For the first time in a long time, Westminster voters have a crystal clear choice being presented to them.
There are three Council seats to be filled, and 10 good people are candidates. Listening to their comments, and reading their literature, it is evident that seven of these candidates are in general agreement, satisfied with, the long and short-term strategies of the current Council. We three candidates, however, are not satisfied at all.
While we are all independent thinkers, we share a common concern about the direction the current Council is taking our great city. For a vision of that direction, one can go Westminster City Hall, where a large sign proudly proclaims a strategy to turn Westminster into the “Urban Center of the Colorado Front Range.” We do not agree with this strategy, and are particularly concerned with all the problems that this urbanization will bring.
The latest, largest urbanization project is the Westminster Mall development. The project is a huge cash sponge, with our taxpayer dollars being manipulated and used to support it. Over $100 million in taxpayer money has been appropriated for this project, much of it being used as subsidies for private developers. Who knows how many more of our tax dollars will be taken for this project? We want to see our tax funds used in ways that will benefit all citizens, not spent on wasteful projects that benefit only a few.
The Mall project also presents a major quality-of-life liability for Westminster citizens. The plan would squeeze 2,300 apartments, housing 4,500 people, into the old Westminster Mall space, over the projected course of 15 to 20 years. Residents would face major construction and traffic problems for many years to come.
We are all three opposed to how this project is being handled, and to the current Council’s long-term direction. The Mall project has been rushed down its present path by a Council that clearly wants to get it so locked up that it can’t be redirected. However, we would like to see developers take more of the risk, spend more of their own money, and return to the taxpayers funds that shouldn’t have been invested this way in the first place.
Strategically, we would rather have Westminster be a more of a “Green Oasis,” and less of an “Urban Center.”
What we see here is a clear choice for Westminster voters. Those who are happy with the strategic direction the current Council is taking (and with the way that their taxpayer dollars are being used) can choose from the seven other candidates who support this path.
If, however, they are not satisfied, and agree that there is a better way, then the three of us give them a clear choice for change.
Mike Melvin, Debbie Bergamo, and Jason Blanckaert are candidates for Westminster City Council.