Over the past several years, northwest Denver has been the site of heated clashes over new development, struggling schools and other hot-button issues -- and the political pot got stirred into a frenzy when Denver City Council District representative Rick Garcia split for a gig with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Ten candidates are vying to fill the vacancy; the contenders range from veteran politicians to neighborhood activists to longtime local business owners. (For details on voting in this special election, click here.)
To sort through the mess before the ballots are counted on May 4, Westword sent all ten candidates a pointed (and, yes, at times irreverent) questionnaire. We've been publishing the unedited results over the past week (links to all of the responses can be found at the bottom of the blog; one candidate, Paula Sandoval, did not respond to the questionnaire). Here are the responses for candidate Larry Ambrose.
Please provide a three-sentence bio about yourself. I am a 37-year resident and neighborhood advocate of Northwest Denver with track record of accomplishments, knowledge of city government and issues, a founder of Denver dog parks and historic preservationist, who is not opposed to appropriate development for neighborhoods and business districts. I hold a B.S. in Business from CU-Boulder, a M.S.B.A. in Arts Administration from UCLA and a J.D. from DU. I am President of Sloan's Lake Neighborhood Association and Co-Chair of the Inter-neighborhood Cooperation Parks and Recreation Committee.
Some reports suggest northwest Denver has the highest concentration of dispensaries. Do you believe additional medical marijuana regulation is needed and, if so, what should it be? There are many areas of regulation which need to be reasonably discussed, including zoning regulations and signage. I am a candidate that recognizes the medicinal and economic benefits of medical mariuana and am willing to engage in a discussion with the industry in order to establish appropriate regulation and taxation of the industry, and to ensure a high level of professionalism within the industry.
Bonus question: If you were a strain of medical marijuana, what would your name be? The use of funny names to describe medical marijuana is not appropriate and diminishes its authenitcity to those who might benefit from it as a legitmate drug.
District 1 schools are struggling. Please give concrete examples of how DPS can accomplish significant improvements while also providing equal opportunities for all local families. Focus on increased parental/guardian enrollment with their children and refine administrative management and budgets by putting money back into the schools for teachers, classroom supplies and courses such as physical education, music and art.
Bonus question: To test your street smarts, answer this quiz question submitted by Geeks Who Drink: What historical figure owned an appropriately white Alsatian named Blondi? Hitler (Correct)
What specifically would you want done to the new zoning code before final vote on June 21? Publish a three-dimensional, computer generated map of the City for all to see showing how Denver will look in 30 years under the new zoning code.
Bonus question: Include the name or address of your least favorite building or house in District 1. (No response)
Name two potential areas of the city budget that you believe could be trimmed and name two potential new revenue streams for the city. Study staffing patterns at the top in City agencies and departments and Look to potential revenues from privitized functions which the City can operate just as well as the private sector and start a program to license the more than 80% of the dogs that are unlicensed which would produce almost $2 million.
Bonus question: In which District 1 bar/coffee shop/restaurant/dispensary are you most likely to be spotted, and what would you be consuming? Buchi Cafe Cubano's Cuban Chicken Soup
Many changes are possibly afoot for city parks -- and in the meantime, rec fees are skyrocketing . What are your opinions on new proposals on the table such as expanding off-leash areas, as well as new revenue initiatives such as allowing parks to host admission-based events? I have opposed off-leash areas in heavy used areas of existing parks and outside of dog parks themselves, unless they are in isolated and appropriate areas. I helped to establish dog parks in Denver and am opposed to the new "Dog Park Fee" of up to $45 per year to use the dog parks. More than $1 million can be made by licensing the 80 percent of unlicensed dogs in Denver. I am opposed to Admission Baseds Special Events in Denver's neighborhood parks, but have been a advocate of creating a large, centrally located Festival Park where both free and admission-based events can be held.
Bonus question: If the city were to hold a karaoke concert in Berkeley Park, what song would you sing and who would you have on back-up vocals? "Who Let the Dog Out? Woof, Woof." with back-up from my three Border Collies.
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What should be done to diversify transportation options in District 1, while at the same time encouraging pedestrian traffic and drawing visitors to the area's business districts? Create intra-district north and south bus routes, bike sharing, more circulator buses between Northwest Denver business districts and downtown, and a system of bike and walking trails between Northwest Denver parks, business districts and attractions. The physical and psychological barrrier presented by I-25 needs to be reduced through diverse transportation options to promote a two-way flow into and out of NW Denver by downtown residents, business people and tourists and North Denver residents.
Bonus question: If there were a three-way gang war between the Highland Mommies, northwest Denver dog walkers and local urban homesteaders, who would win? Highland Mommies, Denver dog walkers and urban homesteaders are not mutually exclusive. They overlap and therefore, it would be a no-win situation.
Editor's note: Click on the appropriate name for the other candidate responses so far: Chris Jeffrey; Randle Swan; Susan Shepherd; John Haney; John Lehmann; Jerry Frangas; Ken Padilla; Georgia Sigala.