Gary Hodges for Longmont City Council, Ward 3

League of Women Voters Questionnaire Responses

1. What are the most important challenges facing Longmont and how should the City Council address them?

The most important issues are the ones related to the core functions of government. Think public safety, transportation, utilities, and infrastructure. As with many cities in Colorado, our police force has been negatively impacted by an anti-police climate. In 2020, the state legislature passed SB217, which ended qualified immunity for police officers and resulted in negatively impacting retention and hiring. My solutions-based campaign platform outlines a path to restoring and maintaining Longmont’s police force by replacing what SB217 took away. Other ideas for attracting and retaining police officers include scaled retention bonuses tied to years of service, bolstering medical coverage support in the gap years between retirement and Medicare, and direct housing assistance.

2. What, if anything, will you propose to address housing affordability?

First, we should do no harm. The pursuit of affordable housing shouldn’t make housing affordability worse. The biggest problem with this pursuit in my view is it doesn’t relieve a burden, it only transfers it to another group. But it is more insidious than that. Inefficiencies in the system ensure the newly burdened group will be larger than the one relieved. So the burden isn’t merely transferred, we affirmatively shift and expand the housing burden onto another group. This creates the perverse outcome of trapping people in their affordable units because the market-rate housing climbs in price at accelerated rates. A better way to address housing needs is by using thoughtful zoning. I will also support the consideration of higher- rise residential structures that contain a range of floor plans and price points in the downtown and Sugar Mill areas. When neighborhood development is proposed, I will advocate for single-family starter homes that are in harmony with the surrounding area.

3. What, if anything, will you recommend to address the needs of the unhoused?

Longmont is doing enough as it is. The city publishes a pamphlet titled Resources for People Experiencing Homelessness. In it are options for shelter, food, and health care. For a person living on the street who is ready to take steps out of that tough situation, there are resources to help. About 75% of respondents to the most recent resident satisfaction survey indicated homelessness is a significant or severe problem in our city. The public is demanding a comprehensive and durable solution. Such a solution will have to include an enforcement component. We must send a clear message that if our laws are violated, freedom will be lost. In short, any person found camping or using drugs will be detained and then screened for health and shelter needs. Upon release a shelter bed and a treatment plan, if necessary, will be offered, giving the individual a chance to get back on their feet. Refusal of services and they must leave our city or freedom will be lost.

4. In your opinion, what action(s) should be taken to move the Longmont Main Street Corridor Plan forward?

A major goal of this plan is to create a more walkable and visually-appealing corridor. Imagine traveling along Main Street and instead of boring bus stops there are functional art installations that delight and encourage Longmont youth to take advantage of public transportation. Let’s use Mayor Leona Stoecker’s painted goose project from two decades back as inspiration for bus stop art installations that will excite youth of all ages and encourage the use of public transportation. We’ll partner with Art in Public Places to solicit proposals from area artists and then have models built of selected projects that are then voted on by the public. My focus on youth nicely aligns with a new program RTD has just introduced to encourage youth to use public transit by eliminating fares for ages 19 and under.