WHERE DOES LEANNE STAND?
According to the Aurora City Municipal Code, city councilors have the choice to abdicate their duty to make smart and responsible decisions on our behalf as new information comes to light. It sounds strange, but if you look to Aurora Muncipal Code 3-9, you will see the powers of our council clearly outlined. Because of this policy, our city council has the ability to waive their rights to reconsider contracts in key areas that affect our lives every day.
Waiving this right is a total abdication of their duty to co-govern with their constituents. This failure to do the job is the reason why Leanne decided to run for city council in the first place. Every other issue in the city, from oil and gas to housing to transportation, is directly affected by their unwillingness to make the best decisions possible based on the information available to them.
If they refuse to do their jobs, they should lose their jobs.
For an Auroran with no children, no form of debt, and no financial obligation to others, they would need to make more than $2 above the current minimum wage in order to survive. But few of our neighbors actually live like this.
The Colorado Center on Law and Policy made an interactive tool that helps us understand exactly what people need in order to live. It is called the self-sufficiency standard, and you can explore it here. But the truth is that most Aurorans already know what this benchmark looks like because the struggle to even get close is constant. With the Colorado State Legislature having passed a law that allows city councils like Aurora’s to set their own minimum wage, it is more important than ever to have city councilors like Leanne who are committed to using their municipal powers to raise the minimum wage to a living wage. Without a well deserved increase, too many people in this city will continue to bring home paychecks that cover less and less of their most basic needs.
Leanne understands better than most the peril of the housing market here in Aurora. Back in 2008, she found herself unhoused and was able to use an Obama era initiative to get back on her feet. But, over half of Aurorans are spending more than 30% of their paycheck on housing costs. As housing costs steadily go up, wages remain stagnant and a change in the affordable housing formula must be made to accommodate this.
Leanne wants to make sure that when we talk about affordable housing, it is based on what we know about living wages in any given community, neighborhood, zip code or county. We can change this dialogue by ensuring that we enter into smart development contracts with developers who are willing to go into the community and solve the problem. This way, we can manage our developers and our expectations as we allow for growth, approve plans and approve permits for construction.
HEALTHY AND SAFE NEIGHBORHOODS
Driving through Aurora can feel like driving between different worlds instead of just different neighborhoods. While certain areas of the city have public spaces that are desolate plots of land with dead grass protected by chain link fences, other parts of the city have so much water to maintain their property that they are watering the pavement in front of their house.
it isn’t enough to just have green spaces if families don’t feel safe sending their kids there. Our first responders need to be adequately funded to tend to problems in a timely and safe manner across the city. It isn’t enough to work towards a couple of healthy wards in Aurora, or a couple of safe wards in Aurora. Every corner of this city deserves to be both safe and healthy at the same time.
This isn’t a discrepancy isn’t just about looks. Leanne knows that when communities have access to useable public spaces, their quality of life, along with their health, drastically improves. The Aurora City Council needs a voice that is willing to seriously tackle this issue to make every corner of Aurora a place that families can congregate safely and comfortably.
It is a fact that Aurora’s 180 square miles are not accessible to all Aurorans. If you are one of many people who are unable to operate or own a car, your life is much more difficult. Taking multiple busses and spending hours a day on public transit to access your social life or the grocery store or the doctor’s office poses a major barrier to the quality of life standard that all Aurorans deserve.
Other cities like Fort Collins and Boulder have prioritized transportation options by running shuttles and transit lines independent from RTD. The value brought to Aurora because of the diversity of our neighborhoods is devalued by our lack of diversity in transit options.