Candidate Questionnaire: Gerry Horak for Mayor of Fort Collins

Fort Collins Voter Guide Questionnaire: The city can best improve the Connexion roll-out process by doing what, in your opinion?

Gerry Horak: Connexion availability is disappointing and not transparent. I support making information transparent so that you know when broadband is coming to your neighborhood and when you will be connected. I support the reduced rate for low income families. This $20/month charge provides an incentive to connect to ensure that all children have internet access for their educational needs. I support Connexion prioritizing low income neighborhoods. Children need access to zoom, homework assignments and information. Their parents and care takers job and educational opportunities will expand. During the pandemic I propose a nominal rate for qualifying families – $5/month.

Citizens are concerned about Covid’s impact on education, downtown, community engagement, renters rights, workers rights, students, and local families. Where do you think the City of Fort Collins can do a better job of addressing the impact of Covid on our community?

I support marshaling people power and data to ensure that hard to reach people receive the vaccine when eligible. This will entail going door-to-door to identify those who do not have access to the internet or are simply overwhelmed. The mayor and council, city manager and city staff should work with Poudre Fire Authority, Poudre and Thompson School Districts, UC Health, Larimer County Health and other organizations to achieve this goal.

Families, businesses especially small businesses, and the environment are hurting. I propose specific programs and actions on my website.

What do you see as Fort Collins’ greatest ecological challenge in the next four years, a concern particularly strong among students and young people. How do you believe we should face it?

Climate Change – I support the Climate Action Plan and Climate Implementation Plan (CIP). While on council I pushed for a CIP with specific measures specifying costs and predicted reductions. Our wholesale provider has added wind and solar so that this year half of our electricity will be from non-carbon sources. As mayor I will be one of the Fort Collins representatives on the Platte River Power Authority Board. During my previous service on the Board l led the effort to develop a decarbonization policy and achieve an earlier date of meeting the goal. I will push for achieving the 100% goal sooner and most importantly retaining the current high reliability. We need a more aggressive CIP.

Do you plan to vote for or against the ballot measure that calls for the City of Fort Collins to attempt to buy the Hughes Stadium property and turn it into open space?

I plan to vote for the measure.

What is your strategy for maintaining and increasing open space in Fort Collins?

Regarding the previous question – the ballot measure is moot when CSU invokes the SPAR. I believe as your Mayor I can work with the city, PATHS and CSU to reach a negotiated settlement that guarantees more than half of the property as open space and provides subsided CSU work force housing.

I will continue to lead on maintaining increasing open space. For 40 years I have been a local leader to expand the amount and access to those unique amenities. In 1993 I was one of the four citizen leaders who wrote and led the effort to gather signatures to place a quarter cent tax measure on the ballot to acquire natural areas and build trails. Subsequently I worked and gave my time and treasure to pass each and every ballot measure for the city and county to expand these areas and miles of trail. All of these ballot measures passed.

Where will you focus your energy in regards to improving public transportation in Fort Collins, particularly in regards to helping those who commute from the suburbs, students, and cyclists?

I led the effort for transit to operate 365 days a year. Transit is a basic service and one only the city can provide. It provides people especially low income folks a mode to live their lives: work, shop, attend religious services and recreate. I support providing incentives to riders and for employers to increase Transit ridership so carbon emissions as well as other pollutants from fossil fuel vehicles will be reduced. We must continue to provide safe bike lanes and recreational trails for cyclists and pedestrians. I led the efforts on expanded bike lanes, trails and underpasses. i worked with Dr. Frank to get the Prospect and Shields underpasses built.

Do you believe that Boulder serves as a good model for how Fort Collins should grow? (Yes or no)

No.

Can we mitigate the negative impacts of growth while also building up Fort Collins’ affordable housing stock — and if so, how?

Yes. We must use all the tools in the affordable housing toll box: changes to the land use and development codes to allow for additional dwelling units, providing subsidies to entities that build low income housing, requiring residential metro districts to include affordable and low income housing as part of their projects, acquiring lands for the Land Bank to provide to low income housing developers, providing 365 transit service, reducing fossil fuel vehicles, increasing non-fossil vehicles, providing more open spaces close to where people live, etc.

What is the one initiative you would most enthusiastically support that you believe would increase access to quality affordable housing in Fort Collins?

I support the development of a Affordable Housing Implementation Plan (AHIP). Akin to the CIP this plan would specify actions with costs and associated predicted number, type and income range for housing units. The plan would have a yearly component that would specify the number, types, income range for affordable housing units to be approved and/or built in the two year budget. We would track progress to achieving our goals and holding our collective feet to the fire.

Would you vote to fully repeal U + 2? (Yes or no)

No.

Would you vote to expand U + 2 to Me + 3? (Yes or no)

No.

Would you support a “right size” housing policy that matches occupancy limits to number of bedrooms? (Yes or no)

Yes.

Would you support a rental registry program in Fort Collins? (Yes or no)

Yes.

For more on this candidate, you can visit their website here.

Methodology: A two question survey asking Fort Collins citizens which issues are important to them on the local level this upcoming cycle was shared on Fort Collins Reddit, in Fort Collins Craigslist, and with members of the Rocky Mountain Collegian & ASCSU for further dispersal. These avenues were chosen in an attempt to reach informed and engaged citizens of Fort Collins who might not be the ‘regular suspects’ who typically receive and respond to such surveys, but who nonetheless represent important and cross-sectional constituencies. Respondents could list multiple issues. No issues were prompted. There were 61 total responses to the survey. These questions are based on the seven issues citizens referenced most in the survey data, with issues referenced by three or more respondents chosen as question categories. Questions here are phrased in a way that most directly reflects the wording and perceived intent of survey respondents, while also pointing candidates toward revealing specific policy values. To see full responses, click here for the organized raw data.

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