Chris Jeffrey: City Council District 1 showdown, part 1

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). First up? Candidate Chris Jeffrey.

Please provide a three-sentence bio about yourself. I'm an unaffiliated candidate that has a passion for my community. I graduated from Marquette University with a BA in Communications and started my career in Chicago as a manager of people and now live in the West Highland neighborhood with my wife and two daughters. For a more detailed bio please see my website at www.ChrisJeffreyforCityCouncil.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? Yes. I think that the influx of new business into Northwest Denver is a good thing but one area I'd like to see additional regulation is regarding store signage. I don't want to make it cost prohibitive to do business or advertise one's brand but the feedback that I get as I walk the neighborhoods campaigning is that people are not generally against marijuana, or a patients need for it, but they feel that some of the shops are a bit to "in your face." I see a potential backlash brewing for the dispensary industry if we don't address concerns around some of the signage. Quality control is another area that I feel could use additional regulation.

Bonus question: If you were a strain of medical marijuana, what would your name be? Given Kenny Be's reference to my campaign yard signs having a Zorro mark on them, I'm going to have to go with... Z Train

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. The City Council has no oversight of DPS. That being said I am answering this question as a father who has a 5 year old starting school in DPS this summer. As a community need to do what we can to help ensure that families are involved in their children's education. In addition we need to explore options to attract strong principals and teachers to our neighborhood schools.

Bonus question: To test your street smarts, answer this quiz question submitted by Geeks Who Drink: What's the term for a no-handed aerial on a skateboard? Ollie. (Correct)

What specifically would you want done to the new zoning code before final vote on June 21? I would like to revisit zoning regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (carriage house, mother in law apt., etc.) and the reasons behind why some areas have been zoned to have them while others have not.

Bonus question: Include the name or address your least favorite building or house in District 1. Oh, I have my list of least favorites... but can't say. I need all the votes I can get!

Name two potential areas of the city budget that you believe could be trimmed and name two potential new revenue streams for the city.There seem to be very few obvious areas to trim but I support further review where there may be excessive overhead or duplication of efforts. My goal is to continue providing most, if not all, of our current city services but if cuts have to be made I will works with the residents of District 1 to determine what things we would be willing to do without or scale back.

Bonus question: In which District 1 bar/coffee shop/restaurant/dispensary are you most likely to be spotted, and what would you be consuming? Mead Street Station. Beer.

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 support the expansion of off leash areas in general, but in particular to some of the smaller neighborhood parks. Admission based events might work but it would depend on the scale and nature of the event. I think that this is an area that we could explore with the help of both the neighborhood residents and the Parks and Recreation Dept. to see if common ground can be reached and if it would be of benefit to the community as a whole.

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? "Got My MoJo Working." Anyone who wants to sing it with me.

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 I would support the exploration of a long term plan to bring light rail through the middle of District 1. At the very least we need to talk about possible options of somehow connecting the Gold Line with the West Corridor via a separate light rail line or street cars.

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? Highlands Mommies. Bottom line is... it's all about numbers.

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner