Years in Loveland: 5 years in downtown Loveland; 30 years in Northern Colorado
Professional background: Web developer, IT professional and small business owner
Education: Bachelor’s in computer engineering from the University of Evansville.
Family: Wife Christina Gressianu, daughter Allie, father Vi, grandparents Vi and Betty (lived in Loveland from 1956 until they both passed away), dog Abby and cats Maya, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
1) What could the city do to improve the quality of life in your ward specifically? How would you, as a councilor, help accomplish that?
The city’s primary impact on quality of life in Ward III is deciding how our tax money is spent. Budgeting isn’t a sexy topic, but it’s the most critical function of City Council. I have heard from residents that they are upset their alleys aren’t well maintained. When I contacted the city about it, they said the alley maintenance budget has already been spent. This maintenance backlog can only be addressed by allocating money necessary to properly maintain our infrastructure.
We should use participatory budgeting to engage our people and help the city understand the will of our people. It would also help citizens understand budget tradeoffs that our city has to make.
I have also heard from our residents that they don’t feel heard by the city. Communication is a two-way street, and Loveland needs to do a better job of communicating what’s going on and listening. One idea that I have is to create an app that allows people to easily submit their issues to the proper city department and receive a response in a reasonable timeframe. This could also be used to gather input from Lovelanders on City Council’s weekly issues. They could receive a three-question survey about these issues and links to information about them.
2) Under what circumstances would you support using financing tools, such as bonds or certificates of participation, to fund capital projects? When would you prefer to see the city pay cash up front?
Unless there is a compelling reason, we should save money to pay for our expenses in cash up front.
There are times when we don’t have the cash to pay for a project in advance, and starting the project now is necessary to secure our future. When we do this, we must always make sure that we have contingency plans and revenue to pay this debt off.
Examples where I think bonding was appropriate include Pulse and the Chimney Hollow water storage project.
In the instance of Pulse, internet is an essential utility today. Phones, medical care and education all depend on the internet. Loveland’s broadband service had been a virtual monopoly for 15 years, and the incumbent provider lobbied our Congress to maintain that monopoly. Municipal broadband was the only feasible way to create competition, and we all know free markets require competition. Since Pulse was announced, internet service bills by incumbent providers have decreased for many because we created a competitive environment.
Chimney Hollow is justified because water storage is critical to Loveland’s future.
3) Are there any groups in Loveland whose voices you feel are underrepresented currently, and who you would like to represent specifically if elected?
We’re living in a time when the loudest voices are the only ones heard. They may or may not even be the majority. I want to make sure that the quiet, caring people of Ward III are heard. And I want every resident of Loveland to know that I am someone who will listen to their concerns and challenges, and help them whenever I can.
4) In the past year, the City of Loveland has faced and settled multiple lawsuits against police stemming from alleged incidents of excessive force. Do you believe there is a culture tolerant of excessive force within the Loveland Police Department? What changes, if any, do you believe should be implemented to improve the department?
The tragedy of what happened to Karen Garner is deeply troubling to me. Anytime people who are entrusted with our safety abuse that authority, it’s a travesty, and we can’t tolerate it. I want to live in a city where our residents feel completely comfortable calling on our police department for help when they need it.
Police officers are people too. Their kids go to school with our kids, and they shop at the same grocery stores as us. They are not immune to the stress of being exposed to people in crisis day after day. We need to create a culture where police officers receive mental health support and treatment without stigma. Our first responders are critical to Loveland being a safe place to live, and they need our support, and they need accountability when our trust is betrayed.
5) What is the most significant long-term challenge you believe Loveland will face over the next four years?
The most significant long-term challenge Loveland will face is managing growth. Many of the challenges we are facing now result from population growth. More people are moving here than we have housing for, which is driving up housing costs. Our roads are handling far more vehicles than they were designed for. And the cost of water is going through the roof. If we grow too fast, we risk losing the Loveland character and culture that make us special. If we grow too slow, we end up like Boulder, where the median home price is $1.5 million. The only answer is to look at the horizon, and plan for the future. We need to plan for Loveland 20, 50 and 100 years into the future, and create resilient infrastructure that will grow and adjust as our population and economy shift over time.