Years in the land of love: I moved to northern Colorado in 2012.
Professional experience: Owner of Rabbask Designs, formerly a brick and mortar jewelry design company on Fourth Street in downtown Loveland. Previously General Manager of a home service company; Purchasing Director, Purchasing Director and Show Director of an international mainframe software company; accounting positions for a mobile pager company; accountant for a dental clinic; and a preschool teacher for the Department of Social Services in San José and for a private nursery school.
Education: Early Childhood Education, Park Management, and Medical Assistance courses at West Valley College and Monterey Peninsula College
Family: A son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who live in northern Colorado
1) If elected, what would you do to encourage board members to work together more effectively?
If I am lucky enough to be re-elected, I would like our city council to fully adopt Robert’s rules of procedure. Currently, we are using Robert’s rules as a guide; one of the areas we do not adhere to is limiting board commentary, which follows a staff presentation, board questions, and public comment. Robert’s rules limit board comments to two speaking opportunities per item and limit the length of comments. Incorporating these limits would encourage board members to be concise and thoughtful, and eliminate back-and-forth bickering.
To ensure independent and impartial decision-making, I would like to promote compliance with Colorado’s sun laws, which prohibit more than two councilors from “meeting” outside the public eye to discuss city affairs. Phone and email to collaborate on matters before the board should be avoided if there are more than two board members.
At the end of the day, there are nine of us who come together to run the affairs of the people. We must take personal responsibility for our words and actions, and behave in a professional manner.
2) Under what circumstances would you support the use of financing tools, such as bonds or certificates of participation, to finance capital projects? When would you prefer the city to pay cash in advance?
Just as we finance the purchase of our homes, financing large capital projects can be in the best interest of our residents, especially now when interest rates are at historically low levels and the costs of construction are increasing at alarming rates. Capital projects such as a new fire hall, improvements to our wastewater treatment plant and Chimney Hollow Reservoir are good examples of good times to take advantage of fundraising tools. It is prudent to save and use cash reserves, such as a down payment, to reduce the amount to be financed. Another good example of using cash is the use of cash reserves to pay our share of any matching grant funds for capital projects. The bond should not be taken lightly and should be used on large projects when it is impractical to save enough money to complete the project due to the time required to accumulate funds and when considering escalating construction costs. Imagine trying to save enough money to buy a house; we might never get there because house prices are rising faster than we can save.
3) Are there groups in Loveland whose voices you think are currently under-represented and that you would like to represent specifically if elected?
Ordinary people are currently under-represented. Think of the squeaky wheel: attention is paid to the loudest voices. The average person is busy navigating life. The average person, although affected by city council decisions, is usually unaware and not involved in their local government. Therefore, their voices are not heard unless something prompts them to pay attention, and only if they have the time and courage to educate themselves on how to be heard. Compare that to special interest groups, who have the knowledge, the resources and the desire to make the system work for them. Special interest groups have a voice that is heard and they can exert great influence. If the question is about marginalized groups, then yes, they are part of the ordinary people who are currently under-represented.
4) Over the past year, the Town of Loveland has faced and resolved several lawsuits against the police resulting from alleged incidents of excessive force. Do you believe that there is a culture of tolerance for excessive force within the Loveland Police Department? What changes, if any, do you think should be implemented to improve the service?
Based on recent videos, it appears force is an acceptable option and can be justified under our current policies. I believe most police officers are good people who do a tough job. I believe police officers should be given top-down direction and that top-down direction forms the culture within the department. If the force is considered normal and acceptable, then the force will be current. Obviously, police officers have the right, and even the obligation, to defend themselves in life-threatening situations. However, if the situation warrants preventive measures to avoid the use of force, these alternative measures must be taken. De-escalation should be used to ensure better results for everyone involved. We are fortunate to live in a community with very little violent crime. People make mistakes; that does not automatically make them criminals. We need to increase the number of mental health co-workers as well as training. We need to focus on public safety with proven de-escalation strategies and practices to produce better results. We must recognize the agents whose actions and contributions yield better results. We need transparency and accountability, and maybe an oversight committee with the power to conduct independent investigations.
5) What do you think is the most important long-term challenge that Loveland will face over the next four years?
Growth is the biggest challenge as it encompasses many aspects: housing options, availability and affordability for different income levels and for different life stages; transport and traffic; Infrastructure; employment and childcare; quality of life; environment, water resources and conservation; and the income needed to support a growing community.