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Boulder, Colorado

The Boulder Daily Camera

candidate questionnaire

Biographical Data:

 

Name: Mark Wallach

Website: wallachforcouncil.com

Contact info: mfwallach@gmail.com, 917-282-3552

Age: March 19,1953

Family: Married to Joan Zimmerman, no children

Lived in Boulder: 5 years

Professional Experience: Real estate attorney, real estate developer

Political/community experience: Worked for civil rights in Mississippi in the early ‘70s, anti-war activist, speechwriter for U.S. Senator, member of Advisory Committee to Council on Linkage Fees

Education: B.A. Yale University, J.D. Columbia University

 

1.  New funding mechanisms for transportation improvements:

 

A proper transportation system is a necessary predicate for future growth, and Boulder’s is not adequate to carry us into the future.  Consequently, all options must be on the table, whether it is a county-wide transportation tax to finance improved bus service to our sister cities, a mileage tax to incentivize diminished automobile use, a head tax on employers, or various user fees, including one on incoming commuters. I do not yet have a view as to which solutions would be most effective and fair to both residents and the business community, but all solutions must be considered.

2.  Growing our way to affordability:

 

There is ample evidence that simply increasing the supply of market rate housing does not create greater affordability. This theory is contrary to the experience of every major city in America; all have grown larger, denser, and much more expensive. It misperceives what developers actually do, which is to build to the highest price point achievable within a given market.

 

If we want more affordable housing we need to take the lead in building it, not relying exclusively on creating large amounts of market rate housing to generate a cash-in-lieu payment. I would strongly consider the repurposing of Boulder’s underutilized real estate assets – such as the municipal airport – to create a community of largely affordable and middle-income housing, with an emphasis on housing for families.

 

3.  Fees on users of Open Space:

 

I am concerned with the regressive impact of user/parking fees on less affluent or marginalized communities. However, our Open Space has now become the recreational facility for the greater Denver area, with more than 6,000,000 annual visitors, while the taxpayers of a city of 108,000 shoulder the entire burden of its maintenance. The stresses this creates are obvious, especially in an environment of static tax revenues and over $300MM of unfunded priorities throughout all City departments. Whether we enter into a regional agreement for assistance in Open Space maintenance or institute some form of user fees we will need to generate additional revenues for Open Space maintenance beyond the revenues anticipated from ballot measure 2H, and I support doing so.