Georgia Sigala: City Council District 1 showdown, part 8

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'll be publishing the unedited results over the next week (links to all of the responses so far can be found at the bottom of the blog). Here are the responses for candidate Georgia Sigala.

Please provide a three-sentence bio about yourself. I am a Northwest Denver native with a passion to serve our community that started in grade school. I went on to become a reading and writing Para-professional and School to Career Counselor for Denver Public Schools, Youth Corps Colorado Coordinator, and Early Intervention Service Coordinator. For more about me please go to www.Georgia4Denver.com.

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? Colorado law is clear: Medical marijuana, in most instances, should be subject to state and local sales taxes. Under Colorado voter-approved constitutional provision, Amendment 20 is constitutional law therefore we must learn to address it as a reality within our city as city council has little power to change it in and of itself. I would like to see Denver do what another in city in Colorado, Fruita has done. Fruita on April 6, 2010, approved a 5 percent sales tax on medical marijuana and related paraphernalia, making it the first city in Colorado to tax Marijuana.

Bonus question: If you were a strain of medical marijuana, what would your name be? Sweet Georgia Brown.

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. I would seek to encourage alternative approaches to education, such as vocational and international baccalaureate programs. I will encourage the re-introduction and re-emphasis on Arts education in the classroom. I would prioritize focus of security on schools to keep our District 1 students in the district. I will offer internship opportunities through our office for interested high school students.

Bonus question: To test your street smarts, answer this quiz question submitted by Geeks Who Drink: If you see me, and by me I naturally mean Dionne Warwick -- walking down the street and I start to cry, what should you do? Walk on by, Walk on by. (Correct)

What specifically would you want done to the new zoning code before final vote on June 21? The New Zoning Code is tied closely to economic development with our new zoning yet let's not forget to embrace historical character while integrating modern elements. We can do this by:

• Break up the superblocks and optimize connectivity • Embrace mixed use • Honor the human scale by creating a pedestrian-friendly place • Think transit-think density • Create a public/private partnership • Share and manage parking

Bonus question: Include the name or address of your least favorite building or house in District 1. I have nothing but love for all houses in District 1. Each has its own distinct character and personality. Although I would like our housing developments kept up better.

Name two potential areas of the city budget that you believe could be trimmed and name two potential new revenue streams for the city. The first thing I would do is look at programs that are duplicated and merge these programs together for cost savings to become collaborating forces. I would also look at programs with similar missions and visions and would create collaborative programs. I feel education has borne the brunt of budget cuts. I would place additional education cuts as a last resort.

Bonus question: In which District 1 bar/coffee shop/restaurant/dispensary are you most likely to be spotted, and what would you be consuming? La Cocinita, enjoying chili fries.

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? Private events should be allowed to be hosted in City parks, however, proceeds from events should be returned to the City after costs are paid. Private events should be responsible for set up, maintenance during events (including security), and clean up. Private citizens should be allowed to reserve park space. Reasonable open times at parks should be maintained to balance private use and public access, and up to 10% with off-leash dog parks.

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? R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin, singing back-up Adelina Sigala & the Dream Team!

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? We should encourage the expansion of bike and car sharing programs as well as develop on street bicycle parking. City council should work and public works to prioritize residential parking and create more parking utilizing the St. Anthony's area for this space. We need to focus on providing and maintaining sidewalks, walkways and create well policed areas for pedestrian traffic to maintain curb appeal and ensure pedestrian trendy neighborhoods.

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? Hands down Highland Mommies -- don't mess with a Mama Bear!!!

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.