Election Guide 2016: Brodie Farquhar Q&A
October 16, 2016
Bio: Brodie Farquhar, 64, is a semi-retired journalist who has covered news in six states, winning 21 awards. Married to his best friend for 42 years, he has three children, two grandkids and a giant dog. Earned degrees in journalism and natural resource policy. Semi-pro curmudgeon.
Q. As a town council member, what would be your top three priorities?
A. (a) Link every Hayden building to fiber-optic internet as town utility to benefit economic development and education.
(b) Encourage revival of chamber of commerce and attract new businesses to business park and near regional airport.
(c) Encourage diverse, regional economic development and transportation options for northwest Colorado.
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Q. The town is forecast to run through its savings by the end of 2017. Do you support asking voters to pay more taxes? Why or why not? Please explain.
A. West Routt Fire Protection District faced a budget crisis three years ago. Voters had earlier rejected raising taxes to keep fire and ambulance services going. I published the first edition of the Hayden Surveyor newsletter and carefully explained why and how the district got in trouble, and how much/little it would cost to put the district on solid financial footing. Voters approved a tax increase. Voters are pretty smart, if they have a thorough understanding of what’s at stake, the costs and benefits. I’m a professional writer who has a track record of explaining complex issues to voters, who then cast reasoned votes. I can help that happen. The alternative to a bit more in taxes is dismantling town government and services, with dire consequences to quality of life issues and property values.
Q. As a town council member, what would you do to encourage economic development?
A. I want to help change the town’s culture and attitudes toward new businesses and business ideas. We need to be more welcoming and encouraging to entrepreneurs. We need to find the right balance of planning regulations that protect health, safety and quality of life, but not to hobble or hamstring development. I don’t want town government to rubber-stamp just anything that walks in the door, but neither do I want Hayden to impose unreasonable conditions or delays. I’ve seen smart regulations in other towns and states. Hayden can learn from other towns facing similar issues.
Q. What do you think are the town’s strengths?
A. Hayden nicely combines Andy Griffith’s Mayberry with Cheers, where everybody knows your name and your dog. The small-town ambiance can be marketed for affordable housing, good schools and safe streets to people fed up with big cities and sky-high housing costs. Add in fiber-optic connections for lone eagles and businesses, and Hayden can be much more than a sleepy bedroom community for the ‘Boat.
Q. What do you think are the town’s weaknesses, and what would you do to address them?
A. There’s a flip-side to Hayden’s wonderful small-town atmosphere. We can be pretty insular and parochial, not wanting anything to change. We saw this with opposition to the marijuana grow facility. Yet the world, nation, state and valley are changing. We need to get in front of change and shape it as best we can, or get run over by it. Rather than rant about decisions made in Denver, New York or D.C., let’s emphasize self-reliance, resilience, innovation and economic diversity.