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Earth Care & YUCCA asked Santa Fe City Council candidates the following questions:

Principles of Community Driven Development

  1. Design and planning — Participatory community engagement processes that recognize power in planning and design and account for and force shifts in power differentials, allowing the community to proactively develop a vision/plan to evaluate new/future opportunities from inside/outside forces.

  2. Transfer and control of resources — In opposition to the current system that devalues communities and residents and encourages viewing communities through a deficit lens, build a system that increases knowledge of the value of resources and a plan to transfer those assets to the community as one of the measurable outcomes of the work.

  3. Primary beneficiaries are from the community — Assess the value of resources and outcomes connected to the work and insure they do not disproportionately leave the community.

  4. Locally led implementation and management of work — Not only hire local but continue to support capacity building so that the local leadership of staff and board continues to increase over time. Focus on intentional succession planning in response to either solving problems or having moved the needle enough to warrant new leadership, whether it be by a new community development corporation (CDC), a civic association or other individuals from the community with new ideas and solutions.

  5. Locally led evaluation, assessment, and accountability — Utilize community-based participatory research models that employ empowered community engagement processes which include engagement in design, collection, analysis and dissemination. Support residents in sharing their assessment of the impact of the work and if power is shared from the previous steps we will see actual accountability connected to success and failure.

The current development process for residential, commercial or public projects is heavily weighted towards the developer, with official public input requirements limited to the Early Neighborhood Notification (ENN) stage and without explicit accountability measures for how ENN input ultimately gets integrated into planning decisions. Further, despite the name, Early Neighborhood Notification meetings aren’t held until after the developer has invested lots of time and resources, and city staff have also invested time and resources to guide the development toward the approval process. There is no comparable support from the city for impacted communities that may have concerns about a project. Rather than engaging communities as creative problem-solvers and collaborative partners in development opportunities and challenges, this limits community participation to supporting or opposing. When concerns exist, community members have no option but to oppose the development at the ENN, at the Planning Commission and at City Council.

  • What changes will you propose so that community driven development has equitable support from city staff, and is valued as much if not more than private profit driven development?

  • What changes will you propose so that impacted communities are immediately alerted to development opportunities and consulted and engaged meaningfully when a developer steps forward with a proposed plan?

  • What do you believe the role of the community is in community development?

  • What do you believe the role of the City is in community development?

  • What values, besides monetary, should be considered in approving or denying a development?

A disparity exists between services, infrastructure improvements, and quality of life amenities in the different parts of the City. Despite commitments to address inequities in investment and improve services, infrastructure, and amenities  in the area annexed by the City in the area north of Airport Rd, development has been limited to new housing developments. This area of town is already the most densely populated area of the city with the greatest number of households with children and yet there remains no library, no parks, no teen center, no senior center, no community center, no grocery stores, no commercial areas, no public spaces, no centers for arts and culture, no recreation centers. It also has the highest number of immigrants, Hispanics, Indigenous, African Americans and people living in poverty. It was also the most impacted community during the pandemic, having more infections and deaths than any other in Santa Fe. The lack of services and amenities contributed directly to those outcomes.

  • What are your plans for bringing these needed services and amenities to the area?

  • How can we ensure greater equity in development moving forward?

  • What level of services and amenities should be present before more housing is built, and how do you determine that?

The majority of mobile home parks in Santa Fe are on the Airport Road Corridor. Mobile homes and parks are an important affordable housing stock/source. Mobile homes parks house essential workers who are the foundation and driver of Santa Fe’s economy. There are fears that these mobile home communities will be sold to developers to build market rate housing and other commercial developments, displacing entire communities and their residents.

  • What do you propose to avoid this potential crisis?

  • Do you support the idea of a Land Trust that could protect these communities?

  • What other ideas do you have to protect working-class Santa Feans and generational residents from displacement?

District 3 borders the industrial zone adjacent to Airport Road and 599, and as such is the most impacted by potential emissions and other toxic pollutants. The area north of Airport Rd, the most densely populated, most diverse and poorest, is the most directly impacted. As it is home to the majority of Santa Fe’s children and youth, as well as an area that is extremely underserved and consequently has higher pre-existing health conditions, the additional risks posed by the industrial zone and proposed expansion is of great concern. This is an Environmental Justice crisis.

  • How do you propose to mitigate or eliminate these extra risks to our community?

  • Will you support a Cumulative Impacts rule so that proposed new or expanded operations must be reviewed taking into consideration the existing environmental, health and socioeconomic conditions of the impacted communities?

  • Will you support public investments in the area that help mitigate impacts, such as increasing the tree canopy, eliminating pavement and concrete, increasing open space and green areas?

The state has invested in a Community Schools (CS) strategy which provides funding for a Community Schools Coordinator at high need schools. This person helps to coordinate services and support for low income students and their families, in partnership with a council that is family and community driven. This is a proven strategy for supporting student learning and wellbeing. SFPS has several schools with a Community Schools Coordinator, mostly on the Southside. Another organization, Communities In Schools (CIS), is already coordinating services and support at these schools. This presents an opportunity for the CS strategy to have an impact beyond the schools, and change the community conditions in which the children and their families live. This is also a proven strategy that supports student learning and wellbeing, but also creates opportunities for the families and neighborhoods that the schools serve. 

  • Would you support a city-school-community partnership that would focus on transforming adverse community experiences and conditions? What might that look like?

  • Would you support targeted public investments in the neighborhoods, like job training, adult education, increasing home ownership, bringing city services and amenities, increasing out of school recreational opportunities, etc?

Below are the responses from the candidates running for City Council District 1, 2, 3 & 4

City Council District 1 CANDIDATE 
 

City Council District 1 CANDIDATE 

City Council District 2 Candidate 
 

City Council District 2 CANDIDATE 
 

City Council District 3 CANDIDATE 

City Council District 4 Candidate 
 

City Council District 4 Candidate 
 

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