Boulder Patch: Michael Christy, Boulder City Council
Amber Fisher, Patch Staff
Excerpts presented below, read the full article at Boulder Patch
Why are you seeking elective office? I am running because I believe I have the character, leadership ability, core values and unique skill-set to be an active and effective voice at the table in moving our city in a positive direction as we navigate through some of the challenges facing our community. I am a family law lawyer by trade, a certified mediator, and a certified collaborative law lawyer. I have deep roots in public service. I was a JAG officer in the United States Air Force and deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. I was an intern at the White House during the Clinton Administration. I am a volunteer at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. I am a volunteer with Boulder's Community Mediation and Resolution Center and I currently sit on Boulder's Cannabis Licensing and Advisory Board. My hope is to bring my skill-set, particularly as a mediator, to bring people together who have very opposing viewpoints and help them find common ground and come to reasonable solutions. I do not pretend to have all of the answers to the challenges we face, but I do believe I will add value to the conversations around these challenges.
The single most pressing issue facing our city is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it. Public health and safety is one of the most pressing issues facing our city. In Boulder, our violent and property crime rates have been increasing. We've seen anywhere from a 30% to 243% increase in crime (depending on the crime) since the beginning of the pandemic. Boulder was recently ranked 65th safest city out of 303 cities with populations greater than 100,000 residents, behind Fort Collins (ranked 39th safest) and Arvada (ranked 54th). Public health and safety is paramount for a thriving community. Providing safety is the most basic requirement and obligation of a governing body. We need to expand on the resources necessary to ensure that our neighborhoods are safe, our businesses are safe, our public places are safe, and our residents are safe.
Currently, the Boulder Police Department is understaffed by approximately 30 officers. The Department has lost 16 officers since the end of April. Our police officers are overburdened and are being asked to wear too many hats. Morale and retention is low. We need to be doing better. If elected, I would work collaboratively with the Boulder Police Department to find solutions to lesson some of these burdens, such as the expansion of the Crisis Intervention and Response Team, a new approach to 911 dispatch, and the creation of a non-emergency response team. I'd like to see our Police Department have their full complement of 190 officers.
I support police reform efforts that provide for more accountability (CO SB-217) and social work/sensitivity training for our officers. I support the $2.7 million dollars in funding for the measures Council recently passed which provide for an urban park ranger program, downtown ambassadors, and six new specially trained homeless outreach officers. We need to ensure we do this right and not just create a police presence for the sake of having armed officers in uniform patrolling our streets without the proper sensitivity training. There is too much fear-based policing around our country. I do not think that is as much of a problem in Boulder comparatively, but we can always be making improvements in the relationships our officers have with community members. I think Chief Herold and D.A. Michael Doughtery are moving in the right direction and I applaud their efforts.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post? I believe my character and heightened level of integrity distinguishes me from other candidates. In addition, my experience as a mediator provides me with a unique skill-set to bring people together to work through challenging issues.
As for issues, I think what separates me from some of the other candidates is that I do not support defunding the police. To the contrary, I believe our Police Department should be staffed to its full complement of 190 officers.
I also support Boulder's camping ban. I believe the ban should be enforced, but it must be done with compassion and with a way to get our unhoused population living in encampments into the services that they need, (for example - mental health and drug addiction services). It is tragic that people in our community have been dealt a set of life circumstances that cause them to sleep in an encampment in public spaces. I feel that it is inhumane for our community to allow those in the encampments to continue to live in the conditions they are subjected to in the encampments (sanitation, crime, weather, etc.). I also feel that it is inhumane for our community to be subjected to the conditions left behind in some of the encampments (feces, crime, needles on the ground, etc.). My wife and children will no longer walk or ride their bikes along Boulder's Creek Path. They are afraid to walk in the grass at the parks along the Creek Path because they are concerned about needles in the grass. My son will not fish in the creek because of sanitation issues. Not to mention the complaints from parents whose children attend Boulder High School. Public health and safety are some of my top priorities.
How do you think local officials are performing in responding to the coronavirus? What if anything would you have done differently? I believe the current City Council and Staff have done a great job responding to and adapting to tremendously difficult situations caused by COVID-19. During the pandemic, our city was able to govern effectively through remote systems without requiring in-person meetings. Boulder was able to expand public outreach by providing more flexible opportunities for community members to attend and comment during public meetings. This allowed for more public engagement and involvement in our governing process. Governing remotely also allowed Boulder to reduce its carbon footprint because people did not need to travel to attend meetings. We also learned the importance of ensuring that all our community, particularly those in our lower-income communities, have access to reliable and affordable broadband service.
The best advice ever shared with me was: My mom taught me to always be kind, to listen, and ask questions.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions? I would ask that voters pay close attention to not only a candidate's position on issues, but just as importantly, pay attention to their character. Ask yourself, "Does this person have the character and leadership abilities to sit on City Council."
Read the full article at Boulder Patch