Election Guide: Steamboat Springs City Council at-large candidate Daryl Levin
October 13, 2011
Daryl "Dog" Levin
Occupation: Owner of D&C Medical Marijuana Center
Hometown: Born in San Bernardino, Calif.
Years in Steamboat: 37
Family: Wife, Gail Jones
Civic Involvement: United Way; cancer groups; Veterans Administration
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Q. The city has had to make drastic budget cuts recently. Does this speak to a need for changes to the city’s tax structure? If so, what changes? If not, why is the current tax structure appropriate?
A. No. I believe the tax structure is fine, but we need to be smarter about how we spend our money. It's pretty simple — if you take in $15 million and spend $17 million, we are going to have budget problems. We need to promote more businesses to come to the valley and more events all summer long. People have recommended a three-day Steamboat Jazz Festival and maybe a parking structure downtown. I am sure, with input from our community, we can come up with some creative solutions.
Q. Given that difficult budget decisions loom for the third straight year, should the city consider using reserves, which the city has built up to about 40 percent of general fund expenditures, instead of just cutting services? If so, which budget line items should be given priority? If not, which line items should be the first to go?
A. I think there's room for other areas to pull money from. I don't feel we need to tear into our reserves too hard and there's better ways to be creative and to get more money.
There's all kinds of things. How about turning the Iron Horse into a rehab center. I think we could rent it out, lease it to people who do the rehab. Also, the people who are there now should stay there. They should not lose their jobs. They should be shuffled into the mix to be able to help the people that come in and set up the thing — doctors, nurses.
Q. To what degree should the city fund the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s summer marketing efforts? What is the appropriate role for city government in tourism promotion?
A. We need to devote a lot of energy to summer and winter marketing. We should work closely with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, all in the best interest of the people who live in the valley and who come and visit. In Steamboat, sales tax revenues are very important for city government to be involved with tourism promotion, especially when it is a world-class resort as we have here in Steamboat Springs.
Q. The city spent more than $2.2 million on bike-related efforts in 2011, including the more than $763,000 purchase of the Orton property and nearly $817,000 for the West Lincoln Avenue bridge and trail. Was that money well spent? Why or why not? Would you fund future bike-related efforts? To what extent?
A. Yes, I believe the money was well spent. And yes, I would support future biking events. But we need to educate our children, adults and community about biking with and in traffic. That means stopping at lights, stop signs and using bike lanes if they are present. More biking education is needed to make Steamboat Springs a safer biking community. Education is the key to solutions.
Q. Do you support a ban of medical marijuana businesses in Steamboat? Why or why not?
A. No. In fact, it is an insult to nearly 1 million Colorado voters who approved Amendment 20, which has been part of the state constitution for 11 years. The Colorado constitution secures that individual rights are available to all citizens statewide. Vested rights, like other constitutional rights, are not subject to the whims and regulations of a local majority.
The right of a qualifying patient or caregiver to medical marijuana is an individual constitutional right. Furthermore, denial of medical care is a deprivation of interest in liberty or life that implicates right to due process under both the federal and state constitutions.
Q. Do you support a 0.25 percent sales tax, for a period of five years, to supplement the winter air service program at Yampa Valley Regional Airport? Why or why not?
A. I will support the tax. We need the airlines coming in. But in the future we need to work with Ski Corp. and other businesses in the valley. I am sure we can come up with some type of program to supplement funds for the airlines down the road.
Q. Identify a decision the current council has made that you agree with, and one that you disagree with. What would you have done instead?
A. I agree the City Council was right to budget sales tax revenues at 5 percent less than this year, over the suggestion of a 2 percent reduction.
I didn't agree with the tearing down of Ski Time Square, where over 100 people lost jobs and the city lost tax revenues, or with the city's purchase of the Iron Horse Inn? (Editor's note: The Ski Time Square and Iron Horse Inn decisions weren't made by the current council). These two things alone have cost this valley a lot of problems for our future. We should have not let Ski Time Square be torn down without a performance bond and better timetable for rebuilding before tearing down.
Q. List your top three priorities as a council member and how you propose to accomplish them.
A. 1. To listen to what the people want and listen to the direction that they would like to go.
2. Work on marketing, bring tourists year-round to the Yampa Valley. I am proud to call Steamboat my home. No one promotes Steamboat better than Verne Lundquist. I think the time has come when all of us who live in this spectacular place need to promote our beautiful valley in a way that tourists cannot refuse to come to Steamboat Springs, a year-round world class resort.
3. I would work very hard to balance the city's budget and not spend what we do not have.
Q. What should be the city’s role in economic development? What steps, if any, would you recommend the city take to help improve the local economy?
A. The city's roll in economic development should be 100 percent focused on listening to the people that voted you in office. What are their ideas? To stay within your budget and to have projects that make money, more events. We must work as a team with the community and businesses.
My name is Daryl "Dog" Levin. I have lived in the Yampa Valley since 1974. I have worked many different jobs, from the Hayden Station power plant, to operating heavy equipment building the city's Haymaker Golf Course, to Ski Corp. in the early 1980s running security and base area services with big budgets. I used to own Chelsea's Restaurant in Oak Creek in the 1990s and have cooked in a lot of places in the valley, including for Bill Gardner at the Butcher Shop in Ski Time Square.
I have been asked by many people of the valley to run for City Council and the reasons are my love and passion I have for this valley. I will listen to the voices of the people of the valley and try to do what is best for the people of Steamboat Springs. Thank you.