Christy: Collaboration Toward Change
Journalist Richard Valenty wrote an in-depth profile of Michael for the 2021 campaign. Please read the entire profile at Richard Valenty Communications.
Below are some excerpts of Michael's views on pressing issues:
Housing: Christy acknowledges there are problems with housing supply in Boulder, but said he would not support what he called “density for density’s sake.” Like most candidates, he said there are specific “missing-middle” shortages for moderate-to-middle-income earners, and said one of his goals would be working toward providing more housing appropriate for those families.
Meanwhile, Boulder has expensive single-family homes that middle-income earners probably can’t afford, along with programs and projects aimed at providing housing for lower-income earners. Christy said he believes Boulder Housing Partners is doing “a pretty good job” with housing for lower-income earners, though the city as a whole could be doing better with affordable housing.
He said the Boulder Armory project in north Boulder is a good example of the type of development he could support, partially because it will provide a relatively wide range of pricing levels, it’s on Broadway and new residents will be able to use RTD’s SKIP bus line, there are already nearby restaurants and coffee shops, and while the nearest grocery store is more than a mile away it would be accessible by transit.
Moving forward, he said he could support well-planned redevelopment of older, underutilized strip malls, making sure they have some green space and the nearby amenities needed to create “15-minute neighborhoods” in which people don’t need to drive for everyday needs. He prefers infill development to greenfield development where possible. He does not support eliminating single-family zoning in Boulder, but could consider “exploring options” such as allowing limited numbers of duplexes per block in single-family zones.
Governance: Christy said he hadn’t realized how politically polarized Boulder was when he began his campaign, and started learning about the local political factions and the existence of “slate” voting, in which people and organizations of general political leanings support one group of candidates or the other. The 2017 and 2019 elections in Boulder featured slates, and slates are on display again in 2021. (Note: Christy is being supported as part of a slate in 2021.) He said he was surprised about slates, and asked people if he could compete as a small-i independent voice, but most people believed it was highly unlikely.
He re-emphasized where his law career eventually took him – into family law, mediation, and collaborative law – and said he believed that this skill set could help him be “the voice at the table” that facilitates working through challenges Boulder might be facing. He said he’s done “hundreds of cases” as a mediator, and family law can get very polarizing, so it’s important to find compromises and avoid entrenched positions whenever parties need to find reasonable solutions.
He said the City of Boulder website is a good resource where citizens can get a lot of information about city issues. Otherwise, he believes a lot of people are getting their information either through word of mouth or social media, and said he’s concerned that people can get a “really slanted view” from social media.
Homelessness: Christy said there are challenging complexities around the issue of people experiencing homelessness in Boulder. There is the consideration of peoples’ humanity, and as a volunteer with the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless he understands that people sometimes have no place else to go. Christy asked a rhetorical question during this interview of “What if it was my kid?” He also supported in the interest of public safety the Council’s 2021 decision to approve a $2.7 million package of programs including non-policing and policing options to clean encampments and help people find services, and supports enforcing the “camping ban” on public spaces.
According to Christy, it’s important to steer people staying in encampments toward services, and supports a “housing-first” approach. He said the City or other entities might be able to use federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to help pay for enhanced services. He also believes there is a need for regional collaboration, since the City of Boulder can’t handle all of the demands on its own, including needs for substance addiction and mental health facilities, even though it already spends substantially more than neighboring cities.
Bedrooms Are For People: Christy does not support the BAFP ballot measure, saying he “loves their intent and motivations,” but has a few key disagreements with the initiative itself. He said it has no provisions to ensure affordability, could lead to situations where the rent per housing unit could increase, and could attract outside investors who might buy homes solely for the income potential. He said he’s not opposed to landlords making money, but not to the point where housing becomes out of reach for too many people. He also mentioned that it would not allow the city to address unique concerns for specific parts of town, notably University Hill.
See all the issues and the entire profile at Richard Valenty Communications.