City Council candidate profile: Kathy Williams
Candidate for At-Large seat
Family: Two sons, Tyler Williams, 29, and Joey Williams, 26
Education: Bachelor’s degree, bilingual education
Previous/current civic involvement: Town clerk, Kremmling, Colo.; volunteer in classrooms; volunteer at VVH Cancer Center; teacher in Roaring Fork School District; currently treasurer for a nonprofit.
Editor’s Note: The Post Independent continues its series of Q&A responses from the candidates vying for two contested seats on the Glenwood Springs City Council in the April 7 mail-ballot election. Ballots are to be mailed to all registered city voters on March 16. First, we introduce the candidates vying for the open At-Large seat, including Kathryn Trauger on Monday, Tony Hershey on Tuesday and Kathy Williams today. On Thursday and Friday, we will feature the candidates running for the Ward 1 seat, Russ Arensman and Steve Davis, and on Saturday we will profile incumbent candidates Todd Leahy and Mike Gamba, who are running unopposed for their ward seats.
How long have you lived in Glenwood Springs?
If not a native, where are you from originally and what brought you here?
California and the West Coast. Came to Kremmling to meet my dad, liked Colorado and never left.
In 50 words, describe your feeling for Glenwood Springs:
Amidst the atrocities happening around the world and the difficulties of life, I look around each day feeling gratitude to live in an area likened to paradise. I have been blessed to raise my children in Glenwood Springs and to be able to continue living here.
What prompted your decision to run for City Council?
Over the years I have heard from citizens of Glenwood Springs that they have been listened to but not been heard by elected officials. This is troubling. Part of the job of elected officials is to not only listen to their constituents but to really hear them. This can only be achieved through authentic communication that seeks to understand people’s sentiments, their perspectives, their ideas and opinions. Sometimes it is necessary to have a referendum to find out what is the will of the people. This is what the Founding Fathers intended for our democratic form of government; a government “of, by and for the people.” Too often, elected officials act in their own self-interest and for their own agendas. To complain and do nothing does not produce change; hence my decision to run for City Council. I pledge to be your voice and your vision for our city.
Do you support CDOT’s current plans to replace the Grand Avenue Bridge? Why or why not?
This decision has already been made. Therefore, it’s time to move forward. We have prolonged an ordeal consisting of traffic calmers, poor decisions and ineffective leadership. Construction of the new bridge was slated to begin in 2014. Though the cost will not be borne by Glenwood Springs, we still have no progress to date. I believe that we should move on and address the problems that will no doubt arise with this enormous undertaking.
If a separate Highway 82 bypass is to be studied, what are your thoughts on how best to accomplish that, and what is the city’s role?
One of our community members, Floyd Diemoz, succinctly addressed this issue in the Post Independent opinion section on March 6. I am in agreement with his assessment. He describes the facts behind the reasons we find ourselves in our current predicament. I believe that Mr. Diemoz is one of countless Glenwood Springs citizens that care greatly about our community and share valid perspectives that deserve to be heard. This is why I am troubled — too many people have been shut out of the process. For over 40 years, we have known that a bypass is long overdue. How is it that the city of Glenwood Springs has been able to stymie this process when there are far too many stakeholders that deserve a say in this process: Commuters, business owners, commercial traffic, pedestrians, etc.?
In what other ways can the city address the impacts of traffic congestion in and around Glenwood Springs?
Our traffic lights are currently set on timers to allow for rush-hour traffic ease. However, the timing runs 24/7 and therefore our city is not pedestrian- or bike-friendly. I am in favor of a re-evaluation of this practice. Naturally, we need to keep commuter traffic flowing, but at other times of the day, we need to be mindful of other users and the impact on them. We also need to address the need for a bridge south of town across the Roaring Fork River which will ameliorate traffic in this section of town.
Is the proposed South Bridge connection to Highway 82 needed, and why?
There has been much discussion and debate surrounding the need for new bridges over the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers due to their current conditions and the steadily increasing traffic. These structures are necessary and have been mired in contentious debate for decades. We require these links for transportation and safety purposes. A hypothetical bridge of communication amongst all of our citizenry would also help tremendously.
What are your thoughts regarding the potential for redeveloping the Confluence area?
Hopefully, the plan for developing the Confluence area won’t be decided by a small, elite group without the benefit of all community members and their opinions. We can all appreciate how parks, pedestrian and bicycle connections and additional greenbelt areas would be an asset to our community. We should all be able to take pride and enjoy this amazing place where we are fortunate enough to live.
Does Glenwood Springs have a need for new housing development? If so, what types of housing and where should that occur?
New housing has been desperately needed for employees and the people who cannot afford homes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. I count three areas of offices which have been sitting vacant for years. I am sure we can build affordable units for ordinary working people and young families getting started.
Should the city build and operate its own power plant to help make the city electric utility more self-sustaining? If so, what’s the most attractive generation source?
Hydro-electric, solar and wind are all renewable resources. We should plan to become independent of fossil fuels for our energy in the future. We stand at a crossroad where we must decide for the generations to come what our world will look like. Let’s protect our environment while we invest in renewable energy.
Name one other key issue facing the city, and how would you address it?
Another key issue facing our city and many other cities is homelessness. Karen at Feed My Sheep said that no one other than Terry Wilson, chief of police, had ever been there to speak with her. It was also disconcerting to learn that Glenwood used to provide them with $10,000 annually, last year that figure was cut to $2,000 and in 2015 there is no money to help these people at all. Depending on the time of year, this is a population numbering from 30 to 50, approximately. One or two transients can create problems where none usually exist, because they are all expected to follow the rules; i.e. no panhandling and being respectful toward others. You are invited to visit the shelter to see for yourselves how our homeless are living.
Please vote and remember that a little kindness being spread around can be everlasting.
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The city of Glenwood Springs has proposed investing $5.76 million for street improvements in the 2020 budget.