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Thursday, October 6,2011

Vote 2011: City of Lafayette

By Boulder Weekly Staff


Lafayette City Council

Christine Berg x

Steve Kracha

Staci Lupberger x

Alexandra Lynch x

Pete d’Oronzio

Rosabelle Rice x

Brad Wiesley

Christine Berg, 34, has worked as community outreach manager for the office of Congressman Jared Polis and is a member of Lafayette’s historic preservation board. She wants to preserve the past, but develop the potential for the future of Lafayette.

“A plan for more restaurants, outdoor seating, planters with unexpected foliage (lavender and rosemary anyone?), and a general respect for the preexisting space with well-conceived additions such as a children’s park with climbable art all work cohesively together to build a stronger brand and identity downtown,” she says.

She would like to see increased participation in Lafayette’s community events, she says, and would promote shopping at local businesses, farm stands and the farmers’ market. Her vision for Lafayette includes revitalizing Public Road, community campaigns to eat and shop local, tax incentives to attract small businesses, and promoting civic engagement, service and volunteerism.

She believes her background in volunteer management, youth leadership development and community outreach have given her enough experience with the community’s issues to have ideas on what to tackle and how. She’s got a picture for what she hopes Lafayette will be and knows how to bring people to a cause to follow through on those projects, so vote for Berg.

Steve Kracha, 51, did not respond to Boulder Weekly’s inquiries by deadline. Kracha was appointed to the Lafayette City Council on Feb. 1, 2011. Before being appointed to the City Council, he served on the Lafayette Planning Commission. While on the council, he has been liaison on the Lafayette Open Space Advisory Committee, the Lafayette Cultural Arts Commission and the Lafayette Public Art Committee.

Staci Lupberger, 40, is one of few incumbents in the race for City Council. Lupberger, a project manager and a former small-business owner, has been an advocate for small businesses and economic development in Lafayette. She says she sees Lafayette as driven by diverse cultures, education and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“I believe Lafayette is an ‘open arms’ community and allows individualism and expression, much like you would find in a metropolitan city,” she says. The latest vision for Old Town, she says, captures and will enhance those features of Lafayette.

To handle the biggest challenge facing Lafayette — economic development — Lupberger proposes doing more to sustain current local businesses.

She says she will continue to support efforts for downtown visioning, while also “walking the talk” by shopping locally.

“We need to be advocates of our town,” she says.

Lupberger has emerged as a veteran leader on the City Council, and is the only City Council member elected in 2009 running for re-election. Support her perseverance with re-election.

Alexandra Lynch, 51, works as development director for the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence and has lived and worked in Lafayette for 25 years. She says she thinks Lafayette’s unique character, history and sense of place distinguish it from other bedroom communities on the Front Range.

“City Council members can support and promote these qualities through supporting projects that reflect our community, and by acting as ‘boosters’ for the City,” she says. “I love Lafayette and am not shy about sharing that enthusiasm with everyone I meet.”

The ongoing recession is the biggest challenge facing the community, and the nation, she says, and she sees it as the City Council’s job to set priorities and oversee the implementation of strategic economic development in Lafayette. Revitalizing Old Town and supporting small- and medium-sized local businesses will be key to that development. She’d also like to participate in a Shop Lafayette! campaign.

Her experience in the community includes eight years spent working for the city as public information officer, which she says gives her insight into issues, government processes and the people who live in Lafayette.

“I combine the best of both an insider’s understanding of the city government, and an outsider’s fresh perspective and insights,” she says.

Based on her experience with the city and her attitude, we endorse a vote for Lynch.

Incumbent City Council member Pete d’Oronzio did not respond to Boulder Weekly’s inquiries by deadline. D’Oronzio was appointed to City Council in August 2010. Lafayette city leaders voted unanimously for him over another candidate with less experience with city government. D’Oronzio had previously served on the Planning Commission.

Rosabelle Rice, 44, says she is approaching city council with an interest in drawing on the diverse communities in Lafayette. Rice has worked as a professional interpreter and translator for more than 20 years, has represented the Latino community on Lafayette’s Latino Advisory Board, and has a lifetime of experience as a bicultural person.

Creating growth while maintaining the affordable, small mining town feel will be Lafayette’s challenge, Rice says. She would promote the Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority plan and would like to see the property at 305 E. Simpson St. and other underutilized properties used to their full potential, she says.

I think our past two councils have worked very hard towards bringing in a diverse economic stream to Lafayette and have created a beautiful downtown plan, of which Festival Plaza has become a centerpiece,” she says. “I hope to continue to work on making this a welcoming and inclusive community.

Rice is also vice president of the Lafayette Old Town Association and says she has worked hard to bring diverse cultures on Public Road to understand and acknowledge one another. To bring her consensus-building experience and multicultural perspectives to the City Council, Boulder Weekly endorses Rice’s candidacy.

Retired police commander and current independent consultant Brad Wiesley, 52, says his background working for the city in areas that involve managing budgets and personnel and cooperating with other departments has provided him with the experience and knowledge necessary to hit the ground running as a City Council member.

As a council member, he would work to protect the diversity and history of the Lafayette community, he says. His focus would be on maintaining services provided to the community, such as the recreation center, parks, water and sewer service, library and public safety, without increasing tax rates. Expanding the tax base through economic development activity will assist Lafayette in handling the budgetary problems governments face in this economic climate, he says.

“I do not support ‘growth at all costs,’ but I do support reasonable growth that brings needed services and jobs to Lafayette that are located in areas that are suitable,” he says. “Often overlooked is the need to work with existing businesses to ensure that they have proper support to stay in the community and to provide employment and goods that benefit the community.

Let Berg, Lupberger, Lynch and Rice unite their go-local and urban development campaigns and enact some real change in Lafayette.

City of Lafayette Ballot Questions

All questions on the ballot are from a series of changes proposed by the City Council of Lafayette and the city attorney in recognition of the need to update the Home Rule Charter, which was drafted in 1958. This is the third year of addressing requested changes to revise or eliminate irrelevant portions.

City of Lafayette Question No. 2A: Special Elections on Citizen Initiatives

Yes x


This initiative would increase by 30 days the time City Council has to call a special election when there is a certified citizen initiative presented to the city council. Special elections are called when no election is scheduled within 150 days of the initiative’s presentation to council. These have been a rarity.

Proponents argue that it takes more time to prepare for a special election than it did when the Home Rule Charter section on special elections was written. Lafayette’s population has increased significantly since 1958, when the charter established the rules, and elections now require coordinating with vendors and meeting more requirements than they did in 1958, according to the city clerk’s office.

Opponents say this hinders citizens’ abilities to see speedy action on initiatives.

Because there have been so few instances in which this measure comes into play in the first place, and an additional 30 days doesn’t radically shift citizens’ ability to see action taken, we endorse a YES vote.

City of Lafayette Question No. 2B: Creation of Youth Advisory Board

Yes x


“Creation” isn’t really the right word for what this question would do. Lafayette already has a Youth Advisory Committee, which currently has 23 members, all between the ages of 11 and 18 who live in or go to school in Lafayette. The committee, which was founded in 2005, advises City Council on issues related to Lafayette’s young people and engages directly in projects, such as the campaign for the skate park, which opened last November with the aid of city funds and a $577,000 Go Colorado grant the youth committee was able to secure.

The ballot question would formalize the committee as a board for the City Council, which will result in new bylaws that will formalize the application process, require gatherings of more than three people to comply with public meetings rules, likely cap membership at 18 young people and move the committee from being housed under the Lafayette Recreation Center to formal board status. The new board would be able to approach City Council with issues more easily, and 2B would give recognition to the contributions of young people interested in serving their community.

The question was unanimously approved for the ballot by the City Council.

Vote YES to acknowledge the input and contributions of young people in the Lafayette community.

City of Lafayette Question No. 2C: Publication of Ordinances by Title


No x

The current city charter requires the city clerk’s office to publish the full text of ordinances in a newspaper. This question would allow for the city clerk’s office to publish the ordinance by title only and have the full text available for public inspection at the city clerk’s office and posted at certain locations.

Proponents say publishing the ordinance title in the newspaper and posting the full text online in the community website and recreation center is sufficient to distribute the information, and they say that other cities in Colorado have chosen this option.

The cost of publishing the full ordinances is projected at $6,300 for 2011, according to the League of Women Voters.

Opponents say omitting the details of laws from a local paper denies residents access to the information, that accessing a newspaper is something almost anyone can do, and saving a few thousand dollars from a $43 million budget shouldn’t be a major concern, though curtailing public access to information should be. Not everyone has Internet access, after all. Placing the value of information distribution over a few thousand dollars in a city budget, Boulder Weekly urges a NO vote on this question.

City of Lafayette Question No. 2D: Resignations and Removals from Boards and Commissions

Yes x


This question changes the Home Rule Charter to standardize procedures for resignations and removals of appointed members of city boards and commissions.

It has no bearing on elected officials, only appointed members. Those members of boards or commissions wishing to resign would be required to submit written resignations to the city clerk or a member of the board or commission from which they are resigning. If resignations are submitted to a member of a board or commission, that resignation becomes effective when the city clerk has received and verified it.

Proponents say the clarification is necessary to allow for smoother workflow in an issue on which the city charter was otherwise silent or disjointed, according to the League of Women Voters.

Boulder Weekly supports a YES vote to clarify this procedure.

City of Lafayette Question No. 2E: Elimination of Obsolete Charter Provisions

Yes x


Regrettably, Lafayette’s Home Rule Charter doesn’t include anything as amusing or absurd as the Colorado state law banning automobile purchases on Sundays (selling alcohol was also illegal on Sundays until 2008), but the charter is in need of some updates. This ballot question allows for eliminating language that refers to the creation of a committee and its provisional memberships prior to its effective date — in 2002.

It also eliminates contradictory language from the charter and removes “archaic” and obsolete requirements that the city hasn’t been meeting for at least 25 years and won’t under modern professional standards, according to the city clerk’s office.

Vote YES to allow the charter to evolve to meet current professional practices.

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