Candidate Questionnaire: Erin Hottenstein for Fort Collins District 4

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

Erin Hottenstein: It’s important that the city provide customers with the information they need to make decisions about their internet service provider, and this means being more forthcoming about when folks can expect to have access to Connexion broadband.This is a frustration that we’re all feeling. Some people have no idea whether they should go ahead and sign a new contract or wait to see if Connexion is coming. The city is about halfway through a 4-year buildout. That’s great news. Internet is expensive and our residents deserve to have the information they need to make cost-effective decisions for themselves. 

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?

COVID-19 is our most crucial issue. It has been disappointing that the city has done little, if anything, to support vaccination efforts even though it has people power, public education campaigns, and buildings to offer as resources. Also, people in the service sector and those with low-incomes are particularly vulnerable right now and we need to pay special attention to their situations. For example, the city should be doing outreach to local businesses to make sure that workers get the time off they need to both get vaccinated and take sick leave, if needed, to recover from the vaccination.

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?

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions. I wholeheartedly support the city’s Climate Action Plan. To meet annual goals, I would advocate for continuing rebates for solar panel installation, increased funding for public transit, and increased transition to renewable energy sources by the Platte River Power Authority. The city should consider innovative approaches like the Can Do Colorado eBike pilot program, which is giving free electronic bikes to essential workers. In addition, it’s crucial to meet milestone goals. Fort Collins should stay the course on the plan to stop burning coal at Rawhide and get PRPA to 100% renewable sources by 2030. 

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?

Waiting for candidate’s response.

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

I am an enthusiastic supporter of open spaces. Larimer County voters passed open spaces taxes in 1995 and 2014, and Fort Collins voters passed one in 2002. These funds have allowed us to purchase many beautiful open spaces and build trails that we can all enjoy. Of course we don’t have unlimited funding, so it’s important to consider where there is a gap, such as in the northeast quadrant of the city. We must also prioritize connecting existing areas, such as a trail from Coyote Ridge to Horsetooth Reservoir, to expand access and usability.

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?

The Lemay and Vine intersection needs improvement. We also need to consider other congested areas and work to solve those traffic problems. As for transit, we need to expand services and routes. More people would take the bus if it didn’t take a long trip with three transfers, instead of 10 minutes in their car. Creating an east-west MAX line near CSU would be beneficial as well. Expanded transit, more bicycle lanes, and making new developments more “walkable” will cut traffic. This is especially important from an equity standpoint – to make sure everyone benefits from the improvements.

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, through an inclusive community conversation that helps us to understand the different ways we might grow. Community leaders in Utah successfully completed this process and were able to make key strategic decisions to create affordable housing and improve quality of life. It is vital that elected officials educate themselves, seek input, and work to find common ground. As a journalist, I became adept at seeking out different perspectives on any given issue. We want to keep the qualities – like great neighborhoods and plenty of open space – that make Fort Collins special and carefully manage new developments.

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

Affordable housing is an ongoing challenge for Fort Collins and would be one of my top priorities as a council member. We want a place where people of all income levels can live. I am enthusiastic about reviewing our Land Use Code and updating it, especially in regard to allowing Accessory Dwelling Units (sometimes called mother-in-law cottages). Since the city spends about $2 million annually on affordable housing, but the solutions are estimated to cost many times more, I would also fight for more funding.

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)

Waiting for candidate’s response.

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

Waiting for candidate’s response.

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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