Policy Bits ~ 5 Things to Know & Watch This Week
February 29-March 6, 2016
~ Karly Malpiede AndrusPolicy Bits1416

After Sustainability Comes Wellness; The New Wave of Smart, Responsible Design

  • Sustainability has successfully infiltrated common construction practice and public awareness; traditional “green building” focuses on minimizing materials and energy consumption, user experience is just a byproduct. “Wellness Design” focuses on improving quality of life in buildings and public spaces; air quality, light quality and it seeks to enhance human health and function through design. http://goo.gl/E69rW1
  • This thinking aligns with the Healthy Principles that Colorado Health Foundation, ULC and other partners have championed. Site selection, solar orientation, walkability, access to natural light and ventilation, and emphasis on the experimental qualities of space will create a great project according to Wellness design.

CO Attorney General Gives Blessing to Controversial Hospital Provider Fee Move

  • Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman issued a formal ruling siding with Governor Hickenlooper, a Democrat, over the argument from Senate President Bill Cadman, a Republican, on the reclassification of the hospital provider fee to fall outside the TABOR limit. This will not shake up much in terms of debate at the Capitol where Senator Cadman responded by saying it was just “another opinion”. If the reclassification is allowed TABOR refunds may not be triggered, more funding for transportation is triggered, and that can reduce/eliminate cuts to other budget areas. http://goo.gl/YyK2Ft
  • Described as the most pressing problem of the session by Governor Hickenlooper, depending on how this issue is decided it will prevent cuts and can create space for partners and allies to advocate for increased resources for affordable housing funding.

April 18th Webinar on Education Voters & Candidates on Housing Issues

  • The second webinar in the NLIHC’s 2016 Voterization series, “Educating Voters and Candidates on Housing Issues”, will be presented Monday, April 18th 12 MST. Throughout the 2016 election season, NLIHC is offering webinars and resources to train advocates and service providers on how to carry out non-partisan voter engagement efforts with low income residents and their allies. http://goo.gl/wibvyB
  • This election season will be hugely consequently on all levels, and voting is a critical metric for gauging civic health. I would like to emphasize these efforts are non-partisan, an adjective meaning, “not biased or partisan, especially toward any particular political group”. This is a unique time in history and we should all do our duty; get educated, get involved and vote.

BONUS Bit: It’s Official; Mayor Hancock Announces Denver’s Commitment to “Vision Zero”

  • Last week we covered a new council working group on sidewalks and a recent sidewalk inventory that builds on Mayor Hancock’s yearlong mobility group and his Feb 16 announcement towards Vison Zero; a pledge to end deaths and injuries related to Denver streets. Last year 57 people were killed in traffic on Denver streets, twice the rate of Seattle. The announcement came with no timeline but $150,000 to study next steps. An online “dashboard” that maps traffic deaths and serious injuries and details how they occurred and a bicycle safety plan based on a long-awaited bicycle crash analysis are now available. You can also view a list of 2016 “action items,” broken down by city department, on the city’s new Vision Zero website. http://goo.gl/XUDus1
  • This tale from the field shows the difficulty in implementing balanced land use, a world class pedestrian infrastructure is absolutely necessary to leverage our transit investment and truly make the Denver region a world class destination but it must be safe or folks simply will not use it. These are also tools we can use in our development work.