Diane Brower: Vote in new blood | SteamboatToday.com

Diane Brower: Vote in new blood

Certainly Bud Romberg, Loui Antonucci, and Nancy Kramer are to be thanked for their long involvement in the community, but there is one major reason why I don’t think we should re-elect them.

There are critical issues that have been of concern to the community for a decade or more, during which time these individuals have served as part of the majority vote on City Council. These issues have been identified as primary concerns in each of the many city surveys. They are too rapid growth and its associated problems, lack of affordable/workforce housing, and the imbalance between city funding of projects that serve to promote growth, directly or indirectly, over projects that serve our local community. I’m not so na├âive as to think that growth will not occur, but not enough has been done by City Council to address the problems that growth has brought.

Any of these three City Council members could have taken a leadership role in the past to speak out for an on-going budget item to fund affordable housing or for zoning to include affordable housing in new developments. These programs should have been initiated in our area years ago. The necessary tools have been in place and working in other Colorado communities for decades. In the past few months, there has been a groundswell from the community to have these affordable/workforce housing tools integrated into regulations locally. While serving as council members, these individuals may have supported affordable housing in principle but have not had the political will or courage to put the policies in place to make it happen on a scale that would truly meet the community’s needs. There has been no leadership.

As members of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, Romberg and Antonucci have been in a unique position to take a leadership role in the affordable housing issue as City Council members. They have not led, they have followed, and sometimes reluctantly.

Romberg, to his credit, asked the question while on City Council, “When is enough, enough?” But when asked about what to do, he backed off and let the question die. Antonucci ran once for City Council on an implied promise to be the champion for a city teen center. Today we have no teen center.

There is no doubt that the character of Steamboat has been changing gradually, becoming less of a community and more of a commodity, losing more of our working population to outlying communities, putting large amounts of city money into endeavors that do not meet basic community needs. I am troubled that Romberg, Antonucci and Kramer have not been willing to take leadership on some of the most important issues we face as a community. I think it’s time to pass the wand to new blood and give others the opportunity to meet these challenges.

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Diane Brower