Saturday, March 3, 2007

Profile: Shelly Waters (CD7)

The candidates for the District 7 city council seat were all profiled in the March 2007 edition of the Washington Park Profile.

Shelly Watters' candidacy was described as follows:

I know how the city works, and how to get things done,” said Shelly Watters. In her third year as aide to At-Large Councilwoman Carol Boigon, Watters previously served in like capacity from 1999-2003 for former District 4 representative, Joyce Foster.

“I decided about a year ago that there are things I want to see happen, and I have the ability and experience to get them done.”

Before diving into the political process as an insider, Watters spent 21 years as Planning Director of the Allied Jewish Federation. “Besides experience with Council workings, perhaps my strongest attribute is process style – I know how to work with people.”

Watters doesn’t pretend to have all the answers to Denver’s never-ending civic dilemmas, but is confident that through an inclusive process, the solutions will be found.

“We need to make this city more bike and pedestrian friendly. We should be thinking more about moving people, not cars. When we are building a road project, we need to think about, ‘Can you get a stroller through there?’ People should be able to walk to the light rail stations. Colorado Blvd. is a nightmare. Evans Ave. is terrible. Even Buchtel Blvd. by the Louisiana Ave. station is not good. The Broadway NEPA study wants to make a section of Broadway as wide as Colorado Blvd. Pedestrians have got to be able to get across.”

Watters is not sure that widening Broadway is a good idea. “You can’t keep building to accommodate the traffic that’s predicted. We can’t keep relying on automobiles. We should encourage mass transit.”

An active member of the Platt Park People’s Association (PPPA), Watters is concerned that the slow pace of Denver’s Zoning Code Task Force is risking destruction of the character of established neighborhoods. “Quick Wins was a one-size-fits-all attempt at a solution, and it doesn’t fit all. The Task Force is developing different typologies for different neighborhoods, but it’s moving too slowly. We’ve urged the Task Force to address the character issue first.”

Watters is encouraged by an architectural pattern book being created by Platt Park resident Jim Lindberg. “People always ask, ‘What do you mean by character?’ The pattern book shows the elements that go into creating the character of a neighborhood.”

Watters would like to see a broad-ranging discussion of, “How do we keep the middle class in Denver? Our housing policy – the availability or lack of affordable housing – is tied into keeping families in the city. Perhaps we can offer incentives for adding on to a home so they’re not forced to move.”

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