News, Analysis and Opinion for the Informed Boulder Resident
Monday August 31st 2015

Lisa Morzel on All Topics

What policies should the City of Boulder have on urban agriculture? If you support it, what should the funding mechanism be?
What is an example of an arts policy, organization or effort that you have spearheaded or advocated for?I have a track record of support art in Boulder, doubling the amount of dedicated tax to the arts in the late 1990’s. Art is fundamental to Boulder’s economic, social, and educational health. With a background in fine arts, I intend to paint and write poetry and music upon retirement. I support Open Studios, shop at and patronize small local businesses, and support our thriving art studios and galleries. Individually, I invest in our local art community annually. I am a strong advocate for more public art in Boulder. I am particularly pleased with the artwork on the new underpass at 30th and Pearl. I would like to see, hear, and experience art throughout Boulder. For the last several years, I have worked on the 9th and Canyon Civic Space Committee and am excited by the real possibility of adding a cinema art facility and an Exploratorium/performing arts facility.
How do you see the arts being utilized as solutions to city challenges?Yes
Ballot Issues
Do you support 2A authorizing an excise tax and a sales and use tax on the cultivation and sale of marijuana?Yes
Do you support 2B authorizing an increase in sales and use taxes to fund transportation construction and services?Yes
Do you support 2C extending the existing 0.33 cent sales and use tax for open space but shifting an increasing portion to the general fund?Yes
Do you support 2D extending the existing 0.15 cent sales and use tax to fund transportation construction and services?
Do you support 2E authorizing a limit of $214 M in bonds to acquire the local electrical utility system and pay for Xcel’s stranded costs?
Do you support 2F authorizing an amendment to the charter allowing the city to sell bonds by a negotiated or private sale?
Do you support 2G authorizing amendments to the charter allowing city residents who are not city electors to serve on city commissions?
Do you support 2H authorizing an extension of the current moratorium on new oil and gas exploration until 6/3/18?Yes
Do you support 310 authorizing a charter amendment requiring voter approval before the city issues debt related to an electrical utility?
What is your experience with the LGBTQ community?My direct contact with the immigrant community in Boulder has come through my involvement in Boulder as a resident and a city councilmember. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, I lived for a limited time in 2 mobile home parks where many residents were from other mostly non-English speaking countries. Many here were living in cramped conditions, working >2 jobs, and had multi-generational familial responsibilities. As a councilmember, I witnessed first-hand the discrimination, repression, and outright harassment and exploitation occurring in one of our larger mobile home parks; Council addressed this – through the city manager, an attorney was hired to represent residents. Also my local shopping center (Shops on the Hill) employs residents from many countries. As a regular, I have come to know many. While facing mind-numbing challenges, the immigrant community overcomes these and continues our national tradition of a multi-cultural country. My grandparents came from Ireland.
What is your experience working with the immigrant population in Boulder?In 1995, when I was first elected to council, Amendment 2 passed in Colorado, the City challenged that all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1996, Boulder with Aspen and Denver won the right for gays and lesbians to have the same basic civil rights as others. Later, in February 2000, I supported and successfully championed for an ordinance that added gender variance to the city of Boulder’s Human Rights ordinance. In effect, this gave transgendered individuals the same rights as others when it comes to housing, jobs, equal opportunities, etc. My personal experience with the LGBTQ community occurs almost on a daily basis. I have members in my family who are gay or lesbian, are close friends or just friends who are lesbian, gay, or transgendered, and friends who are parents of LGBTQ children.
What would you do to prevent racial profiling by the police?I have zero tolerance for racial profiling or discrimination against anyone; this should not be tolerated. Statistically, racial profiling in Boulder is low which may be good but the fact that it’s reported at all is unacceptable. Some suggest it is underreported which may reflect fear of reprisal in the community. The Hotline, independent of the city and established in 2005, is one way to ensure reporting of racial profiling occurs. I’m not sure the best way to improve trust but as a community, I think we can improve efforts to be more inclusive in Boulder and ensure smaller communities do not remain or feel isolated. This is one reason I fought for a safe pedestrian crosswalk at 34th and Valmont and for well-developed connectors to Boulder Junction: residents here and elsewhere must have safe and easy access to the rest of Boulder.
What efforts would you make to address housing discrimination and abuse of immigrant families in Boulder?
What ideas do you have to engage neighborhoods and help lower income homeowners upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes?Yes. Since the 1950’s, the City has considered municipalizing its electric utility. Our recent study has had review and analyses from outside consultants and numerous independents with expertise in all facets of electricity, utilities, and associated laws/restrictions, etc. All indicate we can municipalize and should consider doing so. We have all the information we can currently access. Without YES votes in favor of 2B and 2C, the needed information to determine the utility’s actual costs (acquisition and stranded costs) will remain unavailable, and thus we’ll be unable to make an informed decision as to whether the cost is acceptable. We must be able to determine the true costs and if local control of our electrical energy supply and distribution is the most cost-effective way to a clean energy future. Now is the time for a new energy business model where a decentralized, decarbonized, democratized system succeeds in the 21st century.
Do you support increasing commercial building efficiency regulations? Yes/No/OtherI see a Boulder Light and Power utility that has rates that are at parity or lower than Xcel’s, and is reliable, locally governed, responsive to community needs, innovative and cost-effective, and creative in assembling a viable mix of renewable energy supplies allowing us to meet and exceed long-term carbon-reduction goals such as Colorado’s goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2050. Upon municipalization, I envision the city, after discussion by its electric utility board, hiring/partnering with an energy provider that would be natural-gas based, have a track record of high reliability and market or lower rates and provide an assortment of wind and solar sources. Almost immediately upon changing energy providers, we would have 40% RE cutting our carbon emissions by two-thirds and creating a foundation for 100% RE. Over time, we would add more onto this framework aiming for 100% RE.
Environment and Nature
What are the most important policies Boulder needs to implement to ensure that it reaches and maintains sustainability?Raised by conservation- and environmentally minded parents, I started recycling and reusing discarded items and being an environmental steward around 5 and have continued since. In 1987, I co-designed co-built my energy-conservation award-winning adobe home close to bus, bike paths, schools, and shopping. With new solar panels, electricity cost is zero. Lifestyle and small footprint have earned me several awards from E-Town, Sierra Club, and Eco-Cycle. I throw 14 years focused on the clean-up and closure of Rocky Flats, developed and implemented Boulder’s Integrated Pest Program, and voted to acquire >25,000 acres of Open Space and park land.
Would you favor a Rights of Nature provision in the Boulder Valley and Boulder County Comprehensive Plans? Yes/No/Other1 earth
Do you support the condemnation and purchase of mineral leases on city land? Yes/No/OtherMy votes and actions show strong support for Boulder’s Climate Action Plan goals, including both demand-side and supply-side management efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Major achievements include creation of an effective Local Environmental Action Division, providing home energy audits and rebates on efficiency improvements, passing SmartRegs to reduce GHG emissions from rental units, passing the Utility Occupation Tax in 2010 to replace the Xcel franchise fee and to allow exploration of energy options, and participating in the ClimateSmart loan program with the County. The most cost effective ways to move forward at this point are to 1) municipalize our electric supply and quickly reduce our GHG and provide greatly increased renewables at competitive rates, and 2) move forward with a commercial energy conservation ordinance. The incentives Council has put into the current SmartRegs have been successful in receiving many more applications and qualifications in this Program than projected.
Are you committed to non-lethal management of human and wildlife conflicts, specifically related to keystone species such as prairie dogs? Yes/No/OtherYes
General Information
What are three achievable goals that you would champion in the next two years?Yes
Have you agreed or will you agree to the volunteer expenditure limit? Yes/NoYes
Will you accept public matching funds? Yes/NoI’ve been engaged in social action since 6th grade when the nuns introduced me to working toward social justice causes and that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. My parents’ involvement in Fair Housing, civil rights, HeadStart, and passing a head tax in Kansas City showed me that one person can make a difference. I co-founded the Centennial Neighborhood Association and the North Boulder Community Coalition where I was part of a successful effort to argue for new urbanist, mixed use development along north Broadway rather than accept a sprawl-styled, parking-lot-dominated, anywhere-USA, unsustainable commercial development. After 12 years on City Council, including having leadership roles on regional committees (Rocky Flats Local Stewardship Council, Boulder County Resource Conservation Board, Beyond the Fences Committee) and subcommittees ranging from auditing of our finances to our city charter, I am prepared for leadership on the Council.
Governance and Taxes
Do you favor dedicated taxes over general fund taxes? Why or why not?
What are examples of cost-effective city expenditures of public dollars? Examples of ineffective, counterproductive expenditures?
Should city council members be required to disclose all of their financial ties and business partnerships? Yes/No/Other
Should the volunteer, citizen members of the Beverage Licensing Authority be replaced by someone with legal training, such as a judge? Yes/No/Other
How will you make City Council more engaging and accessible to young people, working people, parents and others?
Should the City Attorney be elected to avoid possible conflicts of interest? Yes/No/Other
Health and Safety
North, south and central Boulder neighborhoods submitted questions about public drunkenness, vandalism and break-ins. What is your reaction?
Is the current mosquito control program on Open Space adequate? Yes/No/Other
How would you make biking and walking safer in Boulder?
Would you support hiring more police officers? Yes/No/Other
Do you agree with the city’s approach to dealing with the homeless population? Yes/No/Other
Land Use
Do you support increasing the number of Accessory Dwelling Units in neighborhoods? Yes/No/OtherI believe the path forward for affordable housing in Boulder must include: 1) continued support of the IH program because of the substantial income produced and the on-site requirement that distributes affordable properties throughout the city, 2) new, creative land-use policies and regulations that encourage ADUs/OAUs, mobile and manufactured homes, duplexes and small houses, creative sweat-equity development (possibly using recycled and reusable materials), incentive programs for voluntary deed-restrictions when redevelopment is allowed, and requirements for worker housing in mixed used developments, and 3) consideration of a new tax such as a head tax that targets workers and our commercial/industrial sector, with revenue dedicated to more affordable housing.
Should some of the undeveloped properties now designated 2A, 2B, or 3 in the Boulder Valley Comp Plan be re-designated, and if so, why?thriving, people-friendly, human scale, and active
What changes will you initiate or support to distribute affordable housing and social service facilities equally throughout the city?I generally agree with this viewpoint and have been involved in promoting its implementation. However, density along transportation corridors needs to consider the type and need for housing and uses along these corridors while ensuring density relief in the form of open spaces and parks. We need to ensure that whatever is done does not affect the existing self-supporting housing nor ignore the need for density relief in conjunction with acceptable density. Increasing density in carefully selected areas within our city is certainly preferably to sprawl into Area III on our periphery. Done well, redevelopment can create walkable places and encourage use of multi-modal transit. However, a disappointment with densification of downtown has been been the lack of creation of worker housing and more viable streetscapes. While it has created a lot of commercial office space downtown, I would like to see nearby worker housing.
Do you support increasing density in Boulder? If so, where? What would Boulder’s ideal population be?Keep the current 4-body review system of proposals that can be submitted only during 5-year major updates of the Comprehensive Plan
BVCP changes require approval by the City Council and Planning Board, and by the County Commissioners and Planning Commission. You support: -Changing it to just city council and planning board approval, -Changing it to just city council and county commissioners approval, -Leaving it as is, -None of the above100000
Where should more office space and commercial development occur (select all that apply):-Downtown,-Pearl Parkway,-Boulder Junction,-55th St.,-North Boulder,-All of the above,-None of the above
Would you support changing the threshold of project review to capture more projects that are currently approved by-right? Yes/No/Other
Is the city doing enough to address flood risks in its development planning efforts? Yes/No/Other
What can City Council do to facilitate revitalization of the Hill Business District?I live in the Centennial neighborhood in north Boulder. The Wonderland and Four Mile Canyon Creek floodplain studies are of interest and potential concern as are increased flood insurance requirements and restrictions on building adjacent to the riparian areas. Potential annexation of properties within County enclaves are important issues as are how transportation / street access and water rights in the Silver Lake Ditch are addressed. Many want a fair and affordable solution. Most are interested in the continued compliance with the North Boulder Subcommunity Plan and would like to see the building and opening of the North Boulder Library branch on Broadway and Rosewood. Many would like to see a citywide Eco-Pass program in addition to more frequent headway on RTD route 204. Some want parts of the sidewalk treatment along the east side of 19th from Norwood to Redwood to be improved with standard curb and sidewalk treatment.
What is the name of your neighborhood, and what is the most pressing issue for the residents in your neighborhood?I will continue to work on: 1) development of the civic use space near the St. Julien as a private-public partnership, 2) planning along Canyon Boulevard from 9th to 17th to create a people-friendly streetscape. The potential cost savings and synergy in taking advantage of several concurrent redevelopment proposals along Canyon makes a compelling case for this area to be a planning priority. I support the gradual transition of the downtown from north to south across Canyon. Finally, and 3) I will work on consideration of the proposed density bonus for commercial development downtown and the related linkage fee to support the affordable housing program. We must evaluate carefully where commercial development will flourish. Boulder’s role as a job-center, with roughly half of our workers commuting in from outside Boulder, is highly dependent on the automobile. Multimodal transit will have to be greatly augmented to sustain this.
Would you work toward a state law that would require right of first refusal to residents of mobile home parks upon sale of the park? Yes/No/OtherWe need to continue working closely with the neighborhoods, CU, and our police force. It may be time for increased code enforcement. At the least, we should apply a punishment to the perpetrator that is commensurate with the offense. More rental management companies could follow the lead of 4-Star Reality this year where they required all renters to attend a session on responsibilities, acceptable behavior, and stewardship in residential neighborhoods. Does it meet the neighborhood needs to have so many alcohol–related establishments operating in a 3-block area? I would strongly encourage CU to aggressively purchase housing for sale on UniHill to provide housing for faculty, staff, and CU graduates thereby creating a stabilizing effect on the neighborhood. Significant problems with litter and over-occupancy still exist; increased code enforcement is required. We need to work closely with landlords, and track down all unregistered rentals and bring them into compliance.
Do you support allocating more resources to code enforcement for illegal rentals, over occupancy, noise, etc.? Yes/No/OtherBoulder currently has about 7 freight trains per day passing though our city on the BNSF rails; these are required by federal rules to sound their horn at each crossing. The establishment of Quiet Zones as regulated by the Federal Railroad Authority is a complicated issue that the City is currently examining. Boulder has asked RTD that all railroad crossings be upgraded for quiet zone compliant in preparation for FasTracks Northwest Commuter Rail Line. However, establishing Quiet Zones requires cooperative agreements with all the participating entities (especially Boulder County), will be expensive (perhaps $500,000 per crossing for Supplemental Safety Measures), and would require the City to assume liability for accidents at those crossings. FasTracks implementation will produce more horn noise at crossings. I am generally supportive of Quiet Zones, but am concerned about the liability issue and want to learn more about that.
Should the city build a branch library in North Boulder? Yes/No/OtherThe biggest issues for mobile home owners are the stability of future pad rents and deteriorating infrastructure. Mobile home owners need to have the opportunty to purchase their parks through a group purchase, through some kind of land trust or cooperative, or as individual lots the city creates a new microzoning. Infrastructure improvements would probably need to be part of any purchase. I support these efforts and believe mobile home communities should be given the “right of first refusal” if the land is for sale. I also support broader land use and zoning criteria that allow for manufactured homes on mobile home sites. Mobile home housing is desirable because it produces the least expensive form of single-family housing. I believe mobile homes should be included in our affordable housing inventory, and that creation of additions mobile/manufactured housing should count toward our affordable housing goals.
Would you support spending additional funds on train noise reduction methods such as the implementation of Quiet Zones? Yes/No/Other
Open Space
What do you see as the greatest threats and opportunities for the future of Open Space?There are simply too many pressures on our natural ecosystems and we should use the precautionary principle to ensure that we do no harm
What is your position on how OSMP manages user conflict and controls resource damage now? How should it change as usage increases?We should not miss any opportunities to buy important pieces of land that come available and advance the goals of OSMP, but we must maintain our trails and manage our Open Space lands with care. The Open Space and Mountain Parks department has completed two general management plans: the Forest Ecosystem and the Grasslands Ecosystem Management Plans. These propose specific on-the-ground management plans to preserve these ecosystems and their resources. Also, three TSA (Trail Study Area) Plans have been completed and are being implemented. These include the Marshall Mesa / Southern Grasslands TSA, the Eldorado Mountain / Doudy Draw TSA, and the West TSA. Each of these has, I believe, established a reasonable balance between various uses and provided a blueprint for managing each area. I believe our current balance between acquisition and management is appropriate. We should partner with Boulder County to leverage our ability to purchase significant properties.
What is the Open Space mandate as you understand it? Under what circumstances would you support deviating from that mandate?Overuse by people is causing harm to the environment
How do you recreate and how often do you use Open Space?Yes, mountain bikers represent an important and growing constituency that supports our open spaces, and we should support them with reasonable access
Regarding dog access to open space trails, select the option that best represents your views:Preservation: Providing land for wildlife habitat and improved environmental health
Regarding the Green Tag Program for Voice and Sight control of dogs, select the option that best represents your views on the program:for question above, I'd answer all of the above I believe we need to study and consider some kind of fee system for properties on our extreme edges where visitors from outside of Boulder or Boulder County may never enter the city of Boulder potentially generating sales tax from their visit. Needed revenue increase could be as parking fees or some kind of tag program. The revenue could be used to generally for OS or be for improvement of specific uses. I also believe that fees for outfitters and other large commercial uses should be dramatically increased to prevent the recent amount of alarming growth in that sector. Better management and visitor education is also an important part of the equation. We might consider more focus on outreach to all users regarding etiquette, best uses, and impacts. Additional revenue will further support OSMP.
Should non-Boulder County users of Open Space be charged fees for use and/or parking? Yes/No/Other
Do you favor limiting human use of open space to daylight hours? Yes/No/Other
Which Open Space and Mountain Parks capital improvements category has the highest priority for you:
Under what conditions would you support the city continuing to host the Pro-Cycling Challenge?
A primary goal in the Zero Waste Master Plan is 85% landfill diversion rate by 2017. Is this is an important goal for the city to achieve? Yes/No/OtherYes
What role does recycling play in GHG emission reduction and what role should it play in the climate action plan?Yes
Boulder businesses recycle 17% of their waste. Do you support requiring businesses to recycle? Yes/No/Other
Sister Cities
How would you have voted (or how did you vote) on the Sister Cities proposal to make Boulder and Nablus sister cities, and why?
Social Services
Tell us about your experience with nonprofitsMy experience with non-profits has been primarily as a City Councilmember although I volunteered for HeadStart as an adolescent. For the most part, non-profit organizations depend heavily on donations and grants and are finding it increasingly difficult to locate office or meeting space in Boulder due to rising rents and lack of available space. The non-profits provide many of the needed services no longer available through the public sector.
What is your stance on the amount budgeted to the Human Service Fund?I support the homeless camping ban, but am still concerned about to best address this issue. Council is working to find effective solutions such as increased overflow shelter support. Allowing public camping is problematic because it exposes vulnerable populations to unsafe exposure, potentially creates sanitary and safety issues, and leads to over-use and deterioration of some public spaces. The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless does an excellent job with its Transition Program in getting homeless persons back on track and out of homelessness. Programs like this are the ultimate solution; however, people are homeless for a broad spectrum of reasons. Some are only ready for short-term shelter. Increased overflow shelter is an important part of the answer and I will continue work to provide resources for that. I’m also interested in pursuing some alternative forms of housing.
Should we pursue a community EcoPass? If yes, how should we pay for it?Yes
Which would you demand that RTD and CDOT provide: -Commuter Rail on BNSF’s line well before 2042,-Enhanced Bus Rapid Transit on U.S. 36 in the near future,-An alternative to Commuter Rail on BNSF’s line (monorail, alternative route, etc),-None of the aboveYes
For 30th St., do you support widening bike lanes and sidewalks and reducing auto lanes to one in each direction with a center turn lane? Yes/No/OtherBoulder has done far better than most American cities in stimulating pedestrian and bicycle transit; we can do better. Twelve percent of people who live and work in Boulder commute by bicycle, 20 times the national average. Notably, half our workers commute from surrounding areas (mostly by car) so our real bike transit percentage is 6%. Our vision of a city where >50% of the commuting is done by bicycling and walking is possible but will require creatively identifying ways to include bike/ped improvements into existing funded projects. We need to focus on identification of where best to develop pathways and crosswalks or underpasses and bike lanes. We should consider dedicating some side streets to priority bike use. An obvious place is on 13th St. between Arapahoe and Iris. Here, bikes could be given priority with minimal stops, and stop signs and lights be used to regulate E-W cross traffic.
Do you support user fees such as parking fees, VMT fees, or road tolls to pay for transportation needs and to reduce car use? Yes/No/OtherRemove and narrow lanes on high traffic roads to support a more human scaled and calmer road system,Re-design streets to obligate motorists to slow down and be more attentive,Re-designate the one-way loop around the Pearl Street mall to two-way traffic,Install more raised medians on Boulder streets,Incentivize the removal of town center off-street surface parking,Discourage SOV travel via programs such as cash-out parking and more efficient pricing of parking,Downsize city fire trucks
What is the best way to address the number of auto commuters to Boulder?