Q&A with Denver mayor candidate Al Gardner


Briefly describe the single most urgent issue facing the city of Denver and how it should be addressed.
The single most urgent issue is housing stability and affordability. Denver will need city, state and the private sector to bring about a short-term resolution that provides relief and long-term planning to balance growth with affordability.

What should Denver leaders do to address the city’s lack of affordable housing?
What leadership needs to do first is have consensus that there is a lack of affordable housing and that the situation deserves attention and action. The city must work with the legislature, governor’s office, public and private sector on creating long-term funding pipelines and affordable housing development targets.

  • Al Gardner

    IT executive
    BBA, MBA
    Nearly three decades in the IT industry building teams, managing budget and strategy in non profit and public organizations. I am currently serving Denver on the Civil Service Commission

Do you support redevelopment at the Park Hill golf course property? Why or why not?
I do support responsible and equitable redevelopment at the Park Hill golf course. The issue always becomes who will benefit from the redevelopment. If the golf course redevelopment moves in the same direction as most recent redevelopment has, then more working families will not benefit. The community and city should be very involved with creating the guard rails that will prevent exclusionary redevelopment.

What should Denver leaders do to revitalize downtown Denver?
Denver’s downtown is mostly a one stop space in which people mainly come to work and then head to other parts of the city for dining, experiences, etc. What we need to do is focus on the repurposing of some space that was gained as a result of offices being more sparsely occupied by working with small and startup businesses that can utilize the space as business incubators or shared space. We need to also focus on making downtown more pedestrian and family-friendly, attracting businesses that make downtown a more attractive space for conventions.

What is Denver’s greatest public safety concern and what should be done about it?
The greatest public safety concern is selling of fentanyl that is leading to proliferation of crime that often associates itself with drug trafficking. Fentanyl trafficking has increased the number of overdoses in Denver and it is important to target the sources of this issue to significantly impact this trend.

Should neighborhoods help absorb population growth through permissive zoning, or do you favor protections for single-family neighborhoods?

Should the city’s policy of sweeping homeless encampments continue unchanged? Why or why not?
I don’t believe that the sweeps should continue in their current form because it is not accomplishing its intended goal. We are not achieving the intended goals and we are simply re-shuffling the unhoused with this method. Removing or shifting the issue out of sight every couple weeks is not solving the issue. What we need is a new strategy that is based on the housing first, case management, and enforcement elements that help identify where we need to meet each impacted individual.

Should Denver change its snow plowing policy? Why or why not.
I think that Denver needs to update its snow plowing strategy and inform the process with updated weather trends. It is important to re-visit this policy because we are becoming a more densely populated city and are making strides at becoming a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly place to navigate. Snow plowing strategy will need to be visited if we want to continue to move in the right direction and keep up with snowfall trending.

What’s your vision for Denver in 20 years, and what would you do to help the city get there?
My vision for Denver in 20 years is to reverse the trend that we are currently on that is making our city unaffordable. I believe that we can lead the way in how to grow with equity as a guiding principle ensuring that everyone will have the ability to live, work, and enjoy what this city has to offer. I imagine a place that leads in environmental efforts and that invests in innovative ways to recycle and manage our natural resources. Lastly, I envision a place where neighborhoods feel as if they are connected to the mayor and city council and greater partners in charting the course for Denver.

How better can city officials protect Denver’s environment — air quality, water supply, ground contamination? And should the city take a more active role in transit?
As mayor, I will continue to invest in and expand the efforts of the Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency Office. I would utilize the climate protection fund to also focus on water conservation efforts and double down on infrastructure projects that update our water treatment and retention efforts so that we practice conservation from start to finish. The city should take a more active role in transit by working with RTD to find ways to make transit more practical and focus on areas that need a reduction in single-vehicle traffic.

Meet Al


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