Taishya Adams — 2023 Boulder City Council Candidate Questionnaire


Candidate: Taishya Adams

Office: Boulder City Council

Website: https://www.adamsforboulder.com/ 


Yes/No Questions – Please answer only with yes/no.

Are you a homeowner? No

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? No

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?

“My name is Taishya Adams.  I am an educator, environmentalist, social justice advocate who has called the City of Boulder home for 11 years. I am running for Boulder City Council because I believe we are at a crossroads. Our climate is calling us towards a new way of life that is in balance with other living systems.  

Many in our community are also recovering from the pandemic, amplified fires and floods.  In addition to that, many in our community are also struggling to make ends meet from day to day, month to month, year to year.  Whether housing, transportation, or work, the time is now for leaders who bring courage and compassion. Most recently, I served on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission.  During that time, we weathered significant internal and external storms.  The storms of climate and culture and require representation and engagement of all stakeholders and community members – especially those who have been marginalized and disinvested.  In addition to climate resilience, my service on the inaugural Boulder Police Oversight Panel motivated me to run.  Getting to work with community members, city staff, the police department, and community organizations showed me how disjointed and unhealthy our relationships are across stakeholder groups and the many policies and practices that make transformative, proactive policing and community safety possible.  As a servant leader, I am eager to bring my these on the ground experiences coupled with professional experiences in natural resources management, outdoor equity, and education will serve our community well as we meet the immediate needs and vision towards a climate and culturally resilient city.”

When was the last time you paid rent, and where was that?

“I paid rent last month and for the 11 years in Boulder I have lived in the City of Boulder.  Even as a middle income earner, I have not been able to afford to buy the places I rent.  It is critical to restore access to intergenerational wealth building that was stolen through discriminatory housing and transportation policy.  I will advocate for affordable housing programs at multiple levels that allow for intergenerational wealth building as well as a living wage so that homeowners can still pay their mortgage.”

Boulder County has experienced extreme natural disasters over the last decade, including flooding and wildfire. How do you plan to address these challenges?

“The role of local government in improving fire/natural disaster preparedness is to infuse education and response options from an interdepartmental perspective.  There is a general need to raise awareness and understanding on climate issues as most Boulder residents have limited and sometimes misleading and incorrect information paid for by corporate polluters.  I believe in building a local government that has meaningful, cooperative relationships with other cities in Boulder, Boulder County, the state, and the federal agencies.  I have been building these relationships personally and professionally since arriving in Boulder 11 years ago and will continue to expand and share those relationships with others.”

How do you think you stand out from other candidates?

“Fresh perspective at the intersection of environment, social justice, and education. As the only non-white candidate, I bring the lived experience of a racially marginalized people and community. People who were only allowed to live in a three-block radius where the creek would overflow regularly. A people who’s labor was used to purchase stolen land from France for a state that would become Colorado. I am running to take care of my ancestor’s investment and the responsibilities I have to tribes and indigenous people. I also stand out as a candidate with deep expertise and experience working in both climate/environment and education. As a former Commissioner for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and contractor to the US Department of Education, I know the issues and have relationships with policymakers, practitioners, and researchers. I also bring a commitment to equity and inclusion having served on the inaugural Boulder Police Oversight Panel.”

What question would you ask a fellow candidate on the ballot?

“Do you support tribal reconciliation and strong partnerships with indigenous communities?”

What are your solutions for the growing population of people experiencing homelessness?

“It is critical that we follow the evidence.  The evidence is strong on guaranteed income for people experiencing homelessness coupled with a continuum of care to address any drug and/or mental health crisis.  The City of Boulder has a pilot that has yet to open applications.  If Elevate Boulder’s participant outcomes follow the results from other cities, I would advocate to expand the City of Boulder’s guaranteed income pilot project that will provide 200 low-income Boulder households with $500 per month in direct cash assistance for two years, no strings attached.  I would also strengthen intergovernmental and partner collaboration to address funding sustainability, staffing retention, and bold steps to increase housing and treatment options.  Let’s do what works!  Let’s move from a place of love, not fear.”

What’s your plan for creating more affordable housing in Boulder?

“We must work collaboratively with housing, health and human services, utilities, and natural resource offices/partners to better prepare, design, and rehab our housing inventory (e.g. co-ops, duplexes, tiny home infill) and multimodal transportation responsive to different income levels and marginalized groups.  Incentivize renewables, restrict carbon emissions, and increase biodiversity restoration by using the federal, state, and local funding to reduce household and business expenses. This also may include community or business incubator spaces on city owned property, sober living, transitioning housing, 24/7 wellness centers and other strategies to reduce homelessness and housing insecurity on the creek, in cars, and families surfing couches.”

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?

“We must balance the growth of the built environment with climate resiliency. Our parks and open spaces attract new residents, but we need housing that will accommodate them with a smaller carbon footprint and align with more accessible transportation options.  It is our collective responsibility to mitigate, align, and transform housing, transportation, and land use to build that resilience.  Climate scientists around the world agree that carbon emission reductions must be coupled with biodiversity restoration.  I support an accelerated transition funded by the City of Boulder Climate Tax and the Inflation Reduction Act energy programs while also ensuring that we measure biodiversity restoration in the 10 year comprehensive plan update.  I would also support continued efforts to hold carbon emitters accountable for negative impacts to our communities.  I would also support continued efforts to hold carbon emitters accountable for negative impacts to our communities.”

What are your goals for transportation and how will you achieve them?

“I support the city’s climate goals and would add indicators for biodiversity restoration.  Our climate goals must align with our transportation and housing goals.  We must significantly reduce car dependency through increased investments in carpool/care shares, and e-bikes/bikes.  We must also strategically invest in people who commute to Boulder for work.  This includes meaningful investments in EVs, regional transportation, and economic incentives to reduce the carbon footprint for those who still need cars while the city transforms the economic, housing, and transformation infrastructure needed for a car ‘lite’ community. We want alternatives that meet real people and families where they are. A $500 rebate on a $1,200 bike will not meet the needs of our multigenerational /large families, families with children at different schools and multiple jobs, or  people with disabilities. We need to significantly invest in expanded bus lines and service hours, car share programs, as well as related issues like a living wage which allows for many more to access rebates and other incentive programs. Ironically many of these rebates are funded by the very taxpayers who cannot afford to access the rebate.  The ‘how’ is always a collaborative path requiring relationships across governmental agencies, businesses, community organizations, workers, and all those impacted by transportation policy as well as a shared understanding of the issues, evidence, and historical context.”

How do you plan to engage with non-English speaking constituents?

“I believe in community-led, community-driven. This means supporting existing recommendations from non-English speaking communities.  The City of Boulder has a community connector program that must be sufficiently resourced and staffed in order to reach full impact.  We also must implement the strategies already identified in the city’s racial equity plan including stronger demographic information about who serves on Boulder’s boards and commissioners and how non-English speaking constituents are engaged. This is also a question in the city’s community engagement plan where we must move from ‘inform’ and ‘consult’ to ‘collaboration.’  Our current engagement plan is missing the last evidence based rating and that is ’empowerment.’  Let’s move towards full implementation.”

How does diversity factor into your policy making?

“What type of diversity? If we are talking race/ethnic diversity, there are still so many goals and strategies that have not been implemented in the current Racial Equity plan. I would pursue those and more to address the inequitable racial outcomes. If we are talking to people with disabilities, I look to organizations like the Center for People with Disabilities for guidance and recommendations. If we are talking geography diversity, there are significant biodiversity inequities between the west and east sides of Boulder. If we are talking socio-economic diversity, I would pursue stronger fiscal equity lenses in resource planning, allocating, and monitoring. If it is gender diversity, I would look to wage equity, benefits, and other hurdles aligned with these identities. As a former educational equity specialist, I also understand intersectionality where identities cross and create new barriers, bottlenecks, and blindspots.  My eye is on every ‘diverse’ sparrow.”

How will you reach residents who have different lived experiences than you?

“As a cultural competence expert, I work with my clients to unpack their own identities/lived experience and build bridges to understand other identities. I will bring this expertise to the council, city staff, and many partners who also have expertise and lived experience. I also have walked the talk while serving on the Commission for Colorado Parks and Wildlife which required significant formal and informal relationship building across the state and a variety of stakeholder groups (eg scientists, environmentalists, businesses, outdoor recreationalists, farmers, ranchers and community members) or issues that were high stakes, life wolf reintroduction. This looks like showing up again and again for informal and formal opportunities to learn, unlearn, and release. This looks like showing up when you agree or disagree – again and again. Most of the issues we face are not logical but relational. I commit to the lifelong learning and relationship building needed for Boulder to become a model climate and culturally resilient city.”

Rank your top 5 issues in priority.

1) Equitable governance aka a Just and Joyous Community

2) Water Infrastructure

3) Flood Mitigation

4) Housing Variety & Affordability

5) Multimodal & Affordable Transportation