Candidate: Terri Brncic
Office: Boulder City Council
QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES:
Yes/No Questions – Please answer only with yes/no.
Are you a homeowner? Yes
Do you think your City should add more beds to the homeless shelter? Yes
If the City police force was fully staffed, would you advocate for adding more officers? Yes
Do you believe there’s a need for more housing? Yes
Do you believe the City should spend more money on homelessness services? Yes
Longform Questions – Please limit responses to 300 words or less.
Why do you want to be a council member?
“Through my work on the Safe Zones 4 Kids ballot initiative, I had the opportunity to meet with all levels of our local government and assess the situation, and what I found was troubling. The city is facing a number of serious challenges – particularly around the intersecting issues of homelessness and public safety – and yet many of our leaders seem to be more focused on political ideologies rather than effective solutions. As a former San Francisco resident, I am concerned that we are following the failed policies of this city instead of learning from its mistakes and forging a new path. We need leaders that will seek to unite us by putting aside their political ideologies and acting in the best interests of our entire community. Leaders that are willing to hold themselves accountable and be ready to change course when things aren’t working. Most importantly, we need leaders that will stop talking about solutions and start implementing them. “
When was the last time you paid rent, and where was that?
“2016 in Boulder, CO”
Boulder County has experienced extreme natural disasters over the last decade, including flooding and wildfire. How do you plan to address these challenges?
“Since the 2013 Flood, the city has developed a comprehensive flood mitigation plan that includes sites at CU South, Alpine-Balsam and other key drainage ways. With plans mostly set, we need to accelerate the implementation of these initiatives in anticipation of future flood events as well as evaluate the adequacy of secondary locations.
As we saw firsthand with the Marshall Fire, we can no longer avoid the threat of large scale wildfires, but we can take action to minimize the impacts. The city’s Climate Initiatives team is doing incredible work in this area, so we need to do everything we can to support these efforts. At the same time, we should be pressuring Xcel to accelerate its plans to bury power lines as well as pushing for more resilient building materials and designs. We need to also provide more robust public education about fire prevention and awareness. Finally, ensuring that we have well thought out and executable evacuation plans will provide assurance that we can respond in a manner that will minimize risk to human life in the event of a catastrophic event.”
How do you think you stand out from other candidates?
“I am a CPA and CFO by trade and have spent the past 25 years providing financial leadership to start-up companies. In that capacity, I help companies achieve their goals through the establishment of process and financial infrastructure. This work requires building strategic plans and then creating budgets that optimize the allocation of existing resources to maximize achievement of those plans. Applying discipline to prioritize the strategies that are most likely to yield the desired outcomes and acknowledging the trade-offs inherent in funding one initiative over another are critical components of this analysis. With this background, I believe I can bring a data-driven, results-oriented approach towards legislation and oversight.”
What question would you ask a fellow candidate on the ballot?
“Our unsheltered neighbors are 3.5 times more likely to be victims of crime and reports of overdoses and assaults are a regular occurrence. While the city is actively working on practical solutions to address the causes and consequences of homelessness, these will take time. In the meantime, what should the city do to provide immediate protection to the unsheltered population from these harmful conditions?”
What are your solutions for the growing population of people experiencing homelessness?
“We can’t continue to ignore the serious public health and safety crisis that is unfolding in our public spaces. Allowing overdoses, assaults and escalating drug use to occur with no meaningful intervention is not compassion, it’s complacency. While the city works toward practical strategies to address the root causes of homelessness, the city needs to enact a Safe Indoor Shelter policy as a temporary measure. Whether it is by utilizing the available space in our existing shelter resources or expanding our detox facility, we must agree that our public spaces are not the answer and protect our vulnerable residents from the dangerous conditions that they are encountering in our public spaces.
In the long-term, we need to develop a more specialized approach toward unsheltered homelessness. With an estimated 75% of this group suffering from untreated mental illness, substance abuse disorders, or both, we can’t continue to insist that housing alone will solve the problem. The Housing First program needs to be adapted to incorporate a streamlined continuum of treatment options to provide these individuals with the immediate care that they need so that they can successfully be put on the path to stable housing. And to support this approach, we need to start making real investments in comprehensive and coordinated behavioral health solutions – including holding the county and state accountable for taking up some of the slack.”
What’s your plan for creating more affordable housing in Boulder?
“We talk a lot about wanting to provide housing for our in-commuting service workers – the teachers, nurses and firefighters that can’t afford to live in Boulder. However, the high-end townhomes and studio apartments that we are building are not meeting the needs of this population. Around ten years ago the city conducted a housing survey to better understand the needs of its in-commuting workforce. I would like to refresh this analysis so that we can create a development roadmap that will ensure we are delivering the right types of housing at the right price points. We also need to set very clear metrics for success. If reduction in in-commuters is the goal, then we should be measuring and holding ourselves accountable to this target and not just building for buildings sake.
Another priority is to improve rental affordability through incentive zoning. I think the majority council missed a big opportunity to drive affordability through the recent change in occupancy limits. Rather than allowing all of the financial benefits of increased occupancy to accrue to property owners, rent reductions should have been a condition for receiving occupancy variances. I will push to amend this ordinance to require rent reductions in exchange for increased occupancy, similar to the way we currently handle ADU variances.
Similarly, I would be in support of limited upzoning of our single-family neighborhoods provided these zoning variances include affordability commitments. For example, a zoning change to a triplex should require that one of the three units be designated as permanently affordable.”
How will you address climate change? How do you plan to meet some of the City’s climate goals, like reducing emissions by 70% by 2030, becoming a net-zero City by 2035, and becoming a carbon-positive City by 2040?
“One of the biggest levers we have in Boulder to reduce carbon emissions is by holding Xcel accountable for promoting and delivering green energy. We should maximize the use of the off-ramps contained in our settlement agreement with Xcel as leverage to ensure that they are hitting their agreed upon targets and maintaining prices that are representative of a competitive marketplace so that lower-income residents are not disproportionately impacted by price increases.
At a local level, Boulder should also be providing more heat pump, battery storage and solar panel grants to encourage residents to move toward greener technologies as well as evaluating future changes to planning ordinances that would incentivize a shift to higher efficiency designs and fixtures. The other area we should be focused on is transportation. Many of our small-business workforce live outside of Boulder and commute here regularly. To retain our local workforce and minimize the environmental impacts of in-commuting, we need to provide reliable and convenient regional transit options that specifically consider the geographic footprint of our non-resident workforce.”
What are your goals for transportation and how will you achieve them?
“As a suburb with a 100K population, it is not feasible for Boulder to completely eliminate all car transit, but we can certainly do better. While the City is actively pursuing affordable housing solutions that would enable more workers to live in Boulder, we need to expand and improve our local and regional bus transit services to allow for more reliable and accessible commute options. The city should consider providing more incentives for participation in the Business EcoPass program – as well as subsidized transit for low-income commuters – as a means of encouraging eco-friendly commuting in a more equitable manner.
I think biking – particularly using eBikes – also represents a great opportunity to really change the way our community thinks about cars. But to incentivize people to use Bikes, we have to prioritize safety measures. I am strongly in support of protected bike lanes, particularly in the key commute corridors within Boulder and the surrounding communities. Our underpasses need to be free of debris and well lit. And we need to evaluate our current policies around e-bikes to ensure that riders are educated on safe-use strategies and that our existing path infrastructure is optimized to handle this type of transit alongside the other types of pedestrian and bike traffic.”
How do you plan to engage with non-English speaking constituents?
“The city’s Communication and Engagement department incorporates a number of programs and approaches to address outreach and communication with non-English speaking constituents. I would look to leverage the tools that they offer to ensure that I am able to reach a broader audience. I particularly like the “Chats with Council” program, which is an innovative way to engage community members that may not feel as comfortable participating in more formal council settings.”
How does diversity factor into your policy making?
“The Racial Equity Plan that was adopted in 2021, serves as the foundational document for ensuring that the city’s policies and procedures achieve the goals of diversity, equity and inclusion. In keeping with that document, the city implemented the Sustainability, Equity and Resilience (SER) framework to guide the development of all processes and budgets. All decisions made by staff and council are explicitly balanced against these frameworks to ensure that the outcomes are in alignment. I will look to these important resources as a roadmap for my thinking on diversity in policy making.”
How will you reach residents who have different lived experiences than you?
“The city operates the Community Connector program which helps elevate underrepresented voices and build trust between community members and city government. The Connectors act as liaisons between the city and the community members to share resources and avenues to participate in city decision-making and surface community concerns. The city engages Connectors on all significant program initiatives, including strategic plan updates and annual budgets. Having seen their involvement with the most recent budget, I was incredibly impressed by how thorough and extensive their engagement work was and the significant and meaningful contributions that they were able to make to the budget process. I would hope to leverage this valuable resource through the course of all policy making.”
Rank your top 5 issues in priority.
1) Create a Homelessness Advisory Panel to advise the city on key policies and strategies to address chronic homelessness. Similar to other city advisory boards, the HAP would be comprised of volunteers who have lived experience and/or mental health and housing professionals.
2) Implement a Safe Indoor Shelter policy to get unsheltered individuals in crisis off of the street and away from the dangerous conditions that they are experiencing in our public spaces.
3) Revise the recent occupancy limit change to implement an incentive zoning feature that would require rent reductions in exchange for increased occupancy variances.
4) Conduct a housing survey of the in-commuting population to understand housing needs and preferences in order to create a development roadmap that will ensure we are delivering the right types of housing at the right price points.
5) Implement safe-use training and enhanced bike path policies for e-bikes that would provide better safeguards for community members. Enhance bike security measures to reduce bike theft and encourage more bike transit.