Jan 292009
Authors: Trevor Simonton

Fort Collins residents over the age of 21 can begin submitting nomination petitions for three City Council positions and the office of Mayor on Feb. 6, but many students, all of whom these legislative bodies affect, said they are relatively unfamiliar with the council.

Drew Murphy, a senior speech communication student at CSU, said he regrets that, although he said he cares about local politics, students like him are “pretty uninformed” about the City Council.

“I wish I was more informed on the motives and actions of the council,” he said. “I feel like it’s a short-sight that a lot of students might have.”

City Council deals with a deluge of local issues, ranging from Transfort bus fares to local road construction and rental housing.

But District Four Council member Wade Troxell said students should be particularly interested in how the council deals with the hotly contested “three-unrelated law,” which restricts the number of unrelated persons that can share one house.

“It’s an important issue. It limits housing and raises prices,” hesaid, encouraging students to make their qualms about the law heard by the council and the Associated Students of CSU, whom Troxell said has been “very active” in attending council meetings.

“ASCSU is critical for bringing forth the issues of the student population, who are very much citizens of Fort Collins,” he said.

In his State of the City address on Tuesday, Mayor Doug Hutchinson outlined some of the council’s future goals, including a continued effort to develop the Mason Corridor and the north College business area.

Council members also widely agreed that bettering the water conservation of this semi-arid city is another vital future consideration.

The coming city election will look to replace only three of the six district seats on the Council, so that – much like in Congressional Elections – a wave of inexperience doesn’t overwhelm the legislative body.

Though these positions are open to students and recently graduated alumni who have been registered to vote for more than a year and have not been convicted of a felony, current Council members said they believe candidacy of such youth will likely not see success.

David Roy, a near seven-year council veteran that’s served the longest amount of time of the six members, said he has seen several students run in past elections and lose but also said students should not be dismayed by the odds.

“I wouldn’t say it’s predominant; I think the youngest elected council member was about 30 years old,” he said. “But it’s not about age, demographics or socioeconomics. It’s about whether you care about the city having good leadership.”

Though official declarations don’t begin until February, Tom Griggs and Doug Hutchinson have declared interest in running and re-running for mayor, respectively, while Ben Manvel, Dale Lockwood and Kelly Ohlson have declared candidacy for city districts 1, 3 and 5, respectively. Lockwood will be the only one of the three not currently maintaining a position on council.

Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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