Mar 252009
Authors: Matt Minich

Turning out in casual form at the Fort Collins Now candidate forum at Everyday Joe’s coffee shop in Old Town Wednesday, mayoral and city council candidates brainstormed solutions for issues plaguing Fort Collins residents.

Though his efforts are valiant, Kelly Ohlson, mayor pro tem and incumbent District 5 candidate, said there isn’t a viable option for getting rid of the city’s geese.

Ben Manvel, incumbent District 1 candidate, though, said he will hopes he’ll find a solution to the horn-blaring noises coming from the train on Mason St.

Jovial in tone, candidates from each district race sat alongside mayoral candidates, incumbent Doug Hutchinson and opposition Tom Griggs, joking openly with one another about their similarities and differences throughout the race./

“I’m here to help ease (Ben Manvel) into retirement,” said Ken Anderson, a candidate for District 1./

Anderson said job attraction would be his first priority if elected into office April 7. Manvel said he hopes to pursue similar policies to those of his last term, which include the continuation of the city’s revamped budget process and efforts for renewal of infrastructure on North College Avenue./”It’s time for a change,” said Vivian Armendariz, the third candidate for the District 1 position, who has said she wants to increase outreach to low-income and Hispanic populations in Fort Collins./

The candidates sat at small tables with Fort Collins community members to answer more serious community concerns as well.

The three-unrelated ordinance, commonly called U+2, which prohibits more than three unrelated residents from living in the same home, was a common theme.

Candidates for Districts 3 and 5 openly debated the ordinance’s merits and downfalls.

Theodore Gates, a 21-year-old CSU history major who is running against Ohlson for the District 5 position, said he strongly opposes the ordinance./The issue is one that “sparks fire” in the student population, as he said the ordinance targets students specifically./

Ohlson said the issue is a technical one that involves zoning and property values./ He said that he does not support abolishing the ordinance but that it is “not perfect”./

Andrew Boucher, the other District 5 challenger, said he and Ohlson had divergent views on the issue./ The ordinance discriminated against students, non-traditional families and low-income renters, Boucher said./

“It’s driven up rent; it’s driven down choice,” he said./

Aislinn Kottwitz, who is running for District 3, agreed with Boucher and said the ordinance was unfairly targeted at students and that it needed to be reviewed./

Dale Lockwood, Kottwitz’s opponent, said he agreed that the ordinance needed review./

It could affect residents of his district who had long-term visitors, he said./

“I don’t want to see unintended consequences,” he said./

Kottwitz and Lockwood said the questions asked at the event regarding candidates’ stances on local issues were in line with questions that they had heard throughout the entire campaign./

“We could switch nametags and answer each other’s questions,” Kottwitz said, referring to the fact that she and her opponent had already heard each other’s responses more than once./

City council elections beat writer Matt Minich can be reached at

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