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Saturday December 14th 2019

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That's what she said

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Council Candidate Fenno Hoffman


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Editor’s note: Students in instructor Christine Mahoney’s Radio/TV News Writing Course at the newly-formed Journalism Program at CU-Boulder are participating in the Blue Line’s coverage of the local election by interviewing Boulder City Council candidates. Thanks for supporting the students, and helping them gain experience and exposure, as they learn the craft of journalism.

Candidate Fenno Hoffman

Candidate Fenno Hoffman (photo by Zane Selvans)

Father of five, architect, teacher, and member on several committees, Fenno Hoffman’s life is anything but dull. With plenty of caffeine and a lot of energy, he is taking on the challenge of running for Boulder City Council this November.

Hoffman is a long time Boulder resident who was largely motivated to run for council to become a source of balance between polarized groups. He says, “A lot of people running for council represent the business world or the preservationist world and I think I sort of have a foot in both ends, so I think I could help those two groups talk to each other.”

As a practicing architect, urban designer, and planning consultant, Hoffman says he has experience in a lot of areas that would benefit him as a city council member, especially his experience in studying the sociology of communities.

In this election, Hoffman is particularly passionate about density as cause for reducing energy and resource consumption. He proposes this be done by modeling the patterns of college students, who generally have very low carbon footprints. “I think one of the jobs for our council is to focus on the reality of what our Boulder plan really is…include the region in what we do and begin to look at ways we can move some of our population who aren’t students into more compact lifestyles, like apartments.”

Hoffman loves teaching at CU and enjoys the close connections he forms with his students. He takes time to get to know them outside of class to see what the college mind-set is like, saying, “We get very real about what their lives are like. I want them to be real people. I want them to be honest.”

He does feel, however, that it can be somewhat difficult to talk to some students because not being 21, they are excluded from the Boulder social scene. He says, “I wish the drinking age was 18 because I think it would bring more students into bars and restaurants and they could hopefully overlap with adults and have more opportunities to cross paths. With the drinking age the way it is, most people that aren’t 21 go to house parties and adults aren’t welcome there.”

Hoffman’s greatest challenge running for council has been condensing his views into short answers. He says, “What’s really difficult is to talk about complicated global issues in 60 seconds or less; to get the issues and your thinking into sound bites and bullet points and bumper stickers and slogans. Staying on that message and fitting it into 60 seconds or 2 minutes or 3 minutes…it’s a real challenge.”

Come November, citizens of Boulder will have to decide which candidates are fit to represent them on City Council. Hoffman hopes to be one of them, so he can help two sides come to an agreement. “The Democrats and Republicans fight each other and have black and white thinking, leaving no middle ground. But life isn’t like that. We really have to be able to think and compromise and make challenging decisions.”

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