Feb 232005
Authors: James Baetke

Mayor Ray Martinez invited members of the community to a "Stop N' Chat" session to discuss issues ranging from economic vitality, college students and politics Wednesday morning.

About 10 people showed up to the chat at Java Moon Caffe, 1205 W. Elizabeth St., including residents of Fort Collins and leaders from the Associated Students of CSU.

One topic touched upon was the possibility of a police substation to be located in in the Campus West neighborhood. Martinez is in favor of the plan and will work on it until the end of his seat on Fort Collins City Council.

Some residents expressed concern with college students disrupting neighborhoods and causing havoc with parties.

"I do not think we can ever stop the partying," Martinez said.

The mayor wants a preventable plan to manage out-of-control partiers, not a reactive one. The police substation may be part of the solution to this problem.

ASCSU President Katie Clausen expressed concern that students are unfairly being labeled.

"The university gets blamed for problems, but it is college-aged students causing problems," Clausen said.

Seeking information and opinions, the group also chatted about the grocery tax and the repeal for the tax that will be on April's mail-in ballot.

There will be no huge impact on Fort Collins if the tax is repealed, but it will come down to priorities and slashing funds in others areas, Martinez said.

"It feels good, but it's damaging," Martinez said, referring to repealing the grocery tax.

Other issues discussed include the three-unrelated law, which Martinez said had some constitutional discrepancies, empty Transport buses and the city's economic vision.

"Economic development is very key," Martinez said.

Ellen Donovan, a Martinez supporter and small-business owner in Fort Collins, said a balance between big business and the smaller nooks around town needs to coexist.

"We need to so something to keep small business. We are spending a lot of money to keep big business so they can stay here in the community," Donovan said.

Martinez is term limited and will leave office when a new mayor is elected in April. He reflected on his past tenure, saying his backing of a new multi-million dollar police station, or "central command" post, and an emergency mobile command post are some of his best accomplishments as mayor.

"I do not have anything I am least proud of," Martinez said.

Mark Brophy, who is running for mayor this April and who is a vocal supporter of small government, has dismissed Martinez's actions with the police station as "illegal" and ill-minded.

Martinez puts aside comments like Brophy's, saying the current police station is in need of something more and is a broken promise to the community. When defendants who pass through the police station complain about the condition, change is needed, he said.

Martinez on Brophy: "He just lacks knowledge. When people do not know what they are talking about they look foolish."

Mayoral candidate Doug Hutchinson is Martinez's pick for mayor this April and said that this is a "very important election" for issues now on the table. Martinez said that if the two council members who are up for re-election lose their races, the council will take a huge negative shift.

"If the new candidates win, danger lurks among us," Martinez said.

Because the ballots will be mailed out to all the registered voters from the November election, a huge number will be receiving them, Martinez said, who expects at least a 30 percent return rate.

Ben Goldstein, vice president for ASCSU, said the student organization will be doing election-awareness campaigns and will be handing out postage stamps to students to encourag them to mail ballots back in.

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