Some student is finally doing it.
The doing is running for city council. Remi Frazier, a CSU graduate and continuing student has decided to run for theFort Collins District 6 city council slot.
Even though I do not really know Remi, or what his platform will be, I know that at least some student is actually taking a role in Fort Collins city government. After all, we do make 24,000 of the people that live or support the Fort Collins economy.
Students are affected by the city council. Let me give you a few examples. First, the smoking ban that will take effect in October was passed by the city council. So all of you late-night bar prowlers who smoke will have to leave the bar of your choice to stand so many feet away and get your nicotine fulfillment. I work in service and love the idea of non-smoking. I hate smelling like a chimney. But I am not sure if the city council should have made the decision, since many students are the patrons that smoke, and there is not really a member of the council that represents them. Who knows what students would have wanted when it comes to smoking, but one thing is for sure: students were barely in the discussion.
Another example is loitering in Old Town Square. The council agreed to a curfew of 2 a.m., and after that time tickets can be issued for Old Town late night patrons who don’t leave the Square. As someone who likes to go to Old Town to hang out, but also likes to get home alive, I think that this decision also misrepresented students. Instead of letting people wait for a cab or a friend to pick them up, the city council members thought it would be better to force people off the sidewalks and onto the streets. Fort Collins already has enough people that drive drunk. (Oh, and the reason we have one cab company can be linked to city council decisions.)
In the past there have also been noise and yard restrictions created by the city council. The council agreed to a three-strikes-you’re-out program a few years ago that held the owners of a property liable if the police were called three times to the house for noise violations. So students found themselves in jeopardy of being kicked out of their homes and property owners of losing their property if one roommate liked to throw a shindig once in a while.
I also think students are not represented when programs are being created by the city council. Look at out public transportation system, for example. Rather than promoting more and affordable cab companies and more bus lines to get home late at night, the council agrees to keep the system how it is. So Fort Collins remains one of cities with the highest rates of DUIs in the country.
However, I am not disputing the city council form of government in this column. I am disputing that students were not represented in the decisions. I applaud any representation that students can get. However, it is up to students to get representation. This means actually voting for city council members and actually knowing whom the candidates are. And at this point, CSU students as a whole don’t even pay attention and vote for their student government.
All of these elected people that we as students are not voting for are making impacts on our lives. They are the people that decide the rules, and the rules impact our personal freedoms. (Like choosing to smoke or choosing to wait for a ride home.) With representation, we could have programs aimed at helping us in Fort Collins. We could have better job programs, tax assistance, healthcare assistance, and a better transportation system.
Fort Collins City Council and the Fort Collins government have not been shown what students want. With a voice within them, then maybe they will know. So I applaud Remi Frazier, and I also ask all of you to at least pay attention to the city council elections and consider voting. After all there will be more decisions that impact you. Putting a voice in the decision-making is the only way to get decisions that benefit us.