Policies

Transportation & Safety

Transportation & Safety 150 150 lisafordenver

Denver must make transportation more accessible to more people. Making public transit more affordable and accessible will be a priority, as we are the hub of the metro area’s business industry. I will work across municipalities and at the state level to support funding for transportation, as well as the Regional Transportation Board. I will be a convener of stakeholders to hold RTD accountable to be more affordable and inclusive of all communities, particularly those that are public transit-reliant. If we want to be a state that prospers, we must work with our regional partners to make transit work for all people and communities.

As part of my SMART (Smart Growth, Mobility, Assess, Revitalization, Trees and open space) vision for planning, I will implement initiatives to shift the culture from being car-dependent to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. Unfortunately, Denver currently lacks a truly comprehensive, multi-modal approach to transportation.

As mayor, I will:

  • Call for the development of a single integrated transportation plan that brings together planning for streets, boulevards, parkways, bikeways, sidewalks, transit and para-transit.
  • Use data to inform decision-making and will measure benchmarks to reach the goal of zero traffic fatalities as envisioned by Denver Streets Partnership Vision Zero five-year plan.
  • Increase funding to create equity across neighborhoods where the majority of deaths occur in “high-injury networks” or “communities of concern,” which disproportionately consist of working-class people.
  • Build infrastructure for alternative forms of transportation to make walking and cycling safer.
  • Prioritize resources in the most congested and unsafe areas in Denver.
  • Enforce construction code violations that impede traffic lanes and walkways.
  • Push for more frequent, affordable, reliable and accessible RTD services.

Housing Affordability & Attainability

Housing Affordability & Attainability 150 150 lisafordenver

With a deficit of 32,000 housing units and a vacancy rate of 1.5%, Denver is in an affordable housing crisis of epic proportions. We need housing options that are affordable, attainable, and meet the needs of more people, including our low-income residents in Denver. This will require a fundamental restructuring of the city’s engagement in housing, including:

  • A cabinet-level Housing Department administered by experts with deep experience
  • A fully supported & transparent Comprehensive Fund, to coordinate the deployment of available resources and partnerships with other funding and tax credit providers. This would be a dedicated funding stream for new affordable units, preservation of existing units, and a higher per-unit subsidy.
  • Preservation of our existing affordable and attainable housing stock, as opposed to incentivizing development that results in scrapes.
  • Negotiating with corporate developers for affordable housing requirements at the front end, rather than the back end, and implement continued monitoring to ensure compliance with these commitments.
  • Implementing participant-public-private partnerships, or P4 initiatives, which require the involvement of community members (participants), the government (public) and developers (private) in all decision-making.

In gentrifying neighborhoods, I will enact aggressive anti-displacement policies to protect our most vulnerable residents, including evidence-based policies that have been shown to slow hyper-gentrification: rent stabilization, tenant protection policies, and the establishment of community land trusts.

Denver Parks & Open Space

Denver Parks & Open Space 150 150 lisafordenver

The three pillars of my campaign are fairness, equity and justice. Our legacy as a city in a park speaks to these values. Our parks are accessible places to all residents; in them, we are one people. Ensuring that all corners of Denver, regardless of income and zip code, have fair and equitable access to high-quality parks space is not only just, but it ensures a sustainable and resilient future for our city. Current city policy allows big developers to turn our neighborhoods into “concrete boxes,” cutting down trees and increasing traffic congestion; this creates poorer health outcomes for Denver’s residents. It’s time for a new generation of aspirational parks expansion planning and adaptive reuse of urban land to that end, especially near our transit station areas that we have targeted for significant population growth. We must give more consideration to parks and public gathering ahead of redevelopment discussions.

By working together, Denver can be a model for how residents, service providers, business owners and city leaders can create housing for all and improve community well-being. A great city isn’t just measured by its wealth, but how it cares for those in need.

As mayor, I will:

  • Seek to design healthy community ecosystems, with the participation of community members at all stages of planning and implementation, that enable all of us to lead healthier lives. We must apply a holistic approach to environmental sustainability that encompasses the natural environment, mental and physical well-being, and addresses the health inequity gap.
  • Expand green space requirements in new high-density developments. The current zoning land-use requirement for General Development Plans  (GDPs) says that 5% of the total site “developable” land area must be designed/planned as publicly accessible open space. I feel that this is inadequate for  Denver’s “City in a Park” image and legacy. The open space requirement should be changed to require a minimum of 15% of total site area to be publicly accessible open space.
  • Create administrative incentives for landscaped areas, such as green roofs, vegetated walls, and pocket parks and playgrounds by increasing the required areas of open space in all three dimensions.
  • Direct my administration to use standards set by the National Parks and Recreation Association as a baseline, with the goal of increasing our parkland to 10 acres per 1,000 people, and require parkland dedication be consistent with that metric.
  • Support an ordinance moving open space zoning from the Executive Director of Parks back to City Council. The Director of Parks & Recreation and the Parks Advisory Board should have an advisory role in zoning decisions, but major decisions about regulatory oversight of parks should involve decision makers who are directly accountable to the taxpayers. The city charter requires a vote of the people to alter the boundaries of a dedicated park. I will seek the dedication of more parkland so that decisions about the disposition of parks are made directly by a vote of the people. I will also seek to broaden the scope of activities in parks that require a vote of the people.

Homelessness

Homelessness 150 150 lisafordenver

As a 30-year public servant working both in and outside of government, I believe that every action that directly affects the people should originate with the people most impacted. Rather than the current administration’s top-down planning process, I will implement community- and resident-driven development which includes renters, homeowners and our unhoused neighbors.

Compassion matters. I believe that a great city is not measured by its wealth, but in the way it treats its people, particularly our most vulnerable neighbors. Criminalizing our unhoused neighbors, by way of “move on” orders and the urban camping ban, results in failed policies based in fear that have not proven effective at reducing homelessness.

In fact, a criminalization approach can make the situation worse: These policies have overwhelming collateral consequences on homeless populations by pushing unhoused people to dangerous areas, pushing them farther away from vital resources, and causing adverse health effects. As homeless people are forced into the shadows, extremely harmful consequences usually follow; this is a public safety and public health issue for those who are experiencing homelessness.

As a 20-year service provider, I’ll take an evidence-based approach to this issue, by investing in proven models to reduce homelessness, converting the old jail into treatment facility, bringing a multimillion dollar housing bond to voters, and creating a centralized Housing Department. I will appoint administrators in the Housing Department with deep expertise and experience with our complex housing issues so that we can implement a coherent, comprehensive, and consistent strategy that leverages public and private resources to provide multiple pathways to proper shelter, temporary housing, permanent supportive housing, treatment services, and long-term affordable housing in mixed-income communities for those experiencing homelessness.

I will prioritize a housing-first model, where people experiencing chronic homelessness are placed in housing without preconditions, such as sobriety or treatment. Meeting people where they are at, stabilizing them through rapid housing, and then incorporating wrap-around services is a better use of taxpayer dollars than the more expensive criminalization approach to public safety as it relates to homelessness.

We must also equip those who are not homeless with alternatives to involving law enforcement in situations better handled by other supportive organizations. As mayor, I will bring together business owners, city agencies, service providers, and community members (housed and unhoused) to come to fair and equitable solutions. This would include education and outreach to the business community, providing business owners with the resources and best practices in how to engage with and support those experiencing homelessness without involving law enforcement.

By working together, Denver can be a model for how residents, service providers, business owners and city leaders can create housing for all and improve community well-being. A great city isn’t just measured by its wealth, but how it cares for those in need.

Climate Change & Sustainability

Climate Change & Sustainability 150 150 lisafordenver

As a 30-year public servant working both in and outside of government, I believe that every action that directly affects the people should originate with the people most impacted. Rather than the current administration’s top-down planning process, I will implement community- and resident-driven development which includes renters, homeowners and our unhoused neighbors.

A great city isn’t defined by its wealth, but by the way it treats its people, neighbors and the environment.

The next ten years are critical to the sustainability of our communities and our planet. It’s time that we treat climate change as the urgent threat that it is. My approach to environmental policy is holistic, and will link community health, the environment, and the economy.  

As mayor, I will appoint a cabinet-level Sustainability Director and will fully fund and scale up the Office of Sustainability to speed a carbon-neutral economy. I will make sustainability foundational to all planning, projects, and decision-making.  

As the first mayoral candidate to support the Green New Deal, I will work with all due haste to move Denver toward a carbon-free economy. I will implement equitable policies to include those who are most vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of climate change to close the racial and gender wealth divide.

As mayor, I will reject political contributions from the oil and gas industry, and I will divest City holdings in any lending institution or company engaged in the ownership, financing, extraction, production, refining, processing, distribution and/or direct sales of fossil fuels.

It’s time for Denver to be the nation’s leader in climate action, rather than consistently failing to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s ozone standards. We must protect our most vulnerable residents like children and seniors, and those having chronic and short-term respiratory issues.

I will also make it a priority to work across municipalities and the State to meet environmental goals. Denver, as the state’s capital, will finally be a good neighbor and work with our regional partners to move forward together to do our part to save our planet.

In my vision for a Green New Denver, we will become leaders in:

  • Renewable energy and resource efficiency; and pioneering a 21st century energy grid powered by clean, renewable energy sources.  
  • Making health and community wellness foundational for all decision-making.
  • Authentic community engagement, social equity, and environmental justice.
  • Healing environmental damage, access to clean water and air, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and access to nutritious food.
  • Incentivizing responsible food management, allowing for the reallocation of restaurant and grocery supplies to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
  • Ensuring attainable housing for all.
  • Green and smart infrastructure and delivery of services.  
  • Clean, safe, and reliable transportation; and ensuring mobility and accessibility for all residents.

Together, we will make Denver a green city, a healthy city, and a sustainable city.

Community-Driven Planning & Growth

Community-Driven Planning & Growth 150 150 lisafordenver

Currently, city planning in Denver is too far removed from the everyday lives of residents, and has failed to meet the people’s expectations because of a lack of vision and authentic community engagement practices. Denver’s growth and prosperity works for some, but not for enough of us. I believe collaborative growth should be integrated into the fabric of our current and future neighborhoods and should ensure that prosperity is accessible to and shared by all Denver residents.

As a 30-year public servant working both in and outside of government, I believe that every action that directly affects the people should originate with the people most impacted. Rather than the current administration’s top-down planning process, I will implement community- and resident-driven development which includes renters, homeowners and our unhoused neighbors.

Community-centered development brings residents to the table from the beginning when planning decisions are made at all phases of planning, from early investigation of issues and concerns, through the crafting of goals, policies, and actions, and to the monitoring of outcomes.

My SMART vision for city planning and growth includes:

  • Smart growth: Comprehensive land-use planning for environmentally sustainable, compact, walkable, and multimodal urban centers with mixed-use development offering a range of affordable housing options.
  • Mobility: Implement initiatives to shift the culture from being car-dependent to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions. Use data to inform decision-making and measure benchmarks to reach the goal of zero traffic fatalities, as envisioned by the Denver Streets Partnership’s Vision Zero five-year plan. Increase funding to create equity across neighborhoods where the majority of deaths occur in “high-injury networks” or “communities of concern,” which disproportionately consist of working-class people. Build infrastructure for alternative forms of transportation to make walking and cycling safer.
  • Assess: Conduct social impact analysis of major development projects prior to construction to assess the ramifications and interventions for the environment and communities at risk of displacement to identify so that both may thrive.
  • Revitalization: Create participant-public-private partnership (P4) initiatives, which require the involvement of community members (participants), the government (public), and developers (private) in all decision-making. These redevelopment strategies will create vibrant urban environments that reconnect community members to their histories and cultural identities.
  • Trees and open space: Protect green spaces by acquiring or expanding environmentally sensitive areas, reducing carbon emissions and scaling up eco-friendly technologies to protect our water, air and soil. Include vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by the cost of climate change, in environmental policy decisions that impact our families and communities. Adopt the principles of the Green New Deal including reducing wealth inequity by addressing the racial and gender wealth divide by ensuring that marginalized communities and working families are centered in the transition to a new economy rooted in clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, and dispelling the false choice between good jobs and taking care of the environment.