Everywhere I have gone talking about my campaign please ask "What does a commissioner do?"
In Boulder County we have 3 Districts, 3 total seats. I live in District 2 (Lyons, Longmont & Allenspark) which allows me to run for this open seat.
Thanks for learning more and considering our local community needs when casting your vote before June 30th.
It's been tough to not have in person events these last three months. My commitment to Boulder County residents is that my door will be open with office hours and County Commissioners will continue to meet in other areas besides the Pearl Street office, to make sure our varied community needs are heard. I will not know everything but I will work collaboratively to listen, learn and make decisions that protect our natural, human and economic resources.
The following are questions that have been asked over the last few weeks in a variety of forums. Thank you for reaching out and learning more about me as a candidate. Choice is part of democracy. Primaries should be full of excellent candidates and I believe we need to build a pipeline of everyday people like me- a previous teacher, single mother, self employed human who want to SERVE.
And I’m hoping to work on the Board, with 2 other members in overseeing the $430M budget in the county and supporting our Boulder County employees. I will use my international experience, career background and previous Board of Director roles to continue to lead.
My door will be open. I will host office hours to continue communication and invite more of our 330,000 population to participate! Info@MARTA2020.org
Online: Marta, if you get elected as the new Boulder Commissioner, what are your priorities?
MARTA: My priorities as part of the three member Board of County Commissioners are not mine. My work is to represent District 2 and the county on issues that the community is concerned about within the framework of the job duties. My background work as a housing advocate focusing on first time buyers, monolingual Spanish speakers and others is so critical to addressing the financial inequities that exist even in our own county. I will continue to work on Housing to create solutions that will add to our other programs and services. Housing is connected to the Climate Crisis we are in globally and I will continue to fight for our natural habitats, our agriculture, and our community as we move to renewable energy and continue the excellent work in place at the county around environment, sustainability and resiliency. I can add a unique perspective to planning and programming for what must be an inclusive approach to Just Transition. I believe we will be more effective and address climate sooner by having more residents involved. The more connected we are- we use less resources on all levels and it helps everyone. As a self-employed person my background in small business, working with local family businesses and entrepreneurs gives me a necessary insight into the way we will rebuild after COVID-19. We have to make changes and as an Advisor for agencies, institutions and local government around the region I will lead in the economic responses to utilize technology with long term goals and strategy unlike what most our residents experienced the last few months.
*I invite you to watch the BCLWV Forum to learn more about my style of leadership for the administrative and governance job of county commissioner
Black Lives Matter
Email: So, in your opinion, does BLM or ALL lives matter?
Marta: Black Lives Matter is a movement that requires the all people to acknowledge and work to understand the history that has created significant disparities between Black people and others. I am an Ethnic Studies major and understand, that the history our young people and communities are taught through curriculum, books, and media is not complete or inclusive. I have worked in finance, housing, education and community engagement and I see the history of how Black people have been kept out of those systems and not been allowed to participate, in an equitable way and the movement that has started is after years of systemic racism. It is not hitting a new level but not new. It is hitting a desperation after Black people were killed at the hands of those in our society we are told to trust to protect us all. I believe Black Lives Matter. The question is framed as an either /or. I don't believe as people we can do both. The same way that I love Mother Earth and our environment, protecting our natural resources, I also love people and want to protect their human rights and connections to our earth.
Text: There has been an inquiry from the Longmont population in regard to lack of spaces for the youth, do you agree, what actions or programs do you think can be taken or implemented?
MARTA: I have heard that concern about Longmont over the years while participating in Envision Longmont and other strategic plans, surveys, focus groups and more. As a previous teach and a mother who utilized the Youth Center in Longmont as both a reference point for activities and classes as well as for my own kids’ care after school, I know the spots are limited and certainly there are different needs for different ages. The County Commissioner role oversees county facilities and I will welcome ideas from community members with ideas as well as look at the history of previous youth focused activity spots with collaboration of nonprofits and the youth advisory boards around the county to learn more.
Email: What is Marta’s position on supporting adjuncts and grad students with a living wage? I’m an adjunct in the CCCS system, this is important to me.
MARTA: Adjuncts and grad students are outside of county purview, andI will continue to advocate that living wage/self-sufficiency wage is a priority for our commissioner office and Board to provide Boulder County employees. In Boulder County one a single person without significant medical or other monthly costs can live off a $15/hr wage. We must raise that for employees to create safety and stability. My goal is to advocate for higher wages and benefit policies throughout the county that will allow Boulder County employees to thrive. I also believe it must get fixed internally before county leaders can tell others to do it!
Phone message: Is Marta in support of subsidizing and encouraging more equitable organizational options, like democratic worker cooperatives and ESOPs and unionization, for workers?
MARTA: I do support creative ways to allow employees to have more equity in the workplace- jobs, income, benefits that employees have input in on as well. My experience as a self-employed person for 20 years, with 2 and 3 jobs my entire adult life, gives me a unique perspective on the demands and gaps in employee experience. I have met with Labor Orgs and am supportive of workers who want to choose to unionize in Boulder County. I believe the outcome is what is critical-on the Board of the County Commissioners our task is to create a stellar working environment- for all departments, for all workers so they can each provide stellar service to all residents. Having well paid, secure work is key to that.
*I have been endorsed by AFSCME!
Email: I am wondering what your stance is regarding the proposed Gross Reservoir expansion. Also, what are your thoughts on the lawsuit between Boulder County and Denver Water?
MARTA: I am a lover of the outdoors and an environmentalist at heart. As a human sharing this earth with others I believe we have a responsibility to care for the natural resources we have, to conserve and care for the planet. I have met with a group of residents to learn more and get a background on the Gross Reservoir Expansion. I agree with the work that the current commissioners are doing to stop the expansion. An example of the benefits of having regulation in place is the use of the 1041 Review. Any lawsuit unfortunately takes resources- human and economic- away from other pertinent work, outcomes, planning etc. and yet fighting for air, water, land quality is a commitment that the commissioner office made long ago to the residents of Boulder County.
Vance Brand Airport
Texter: What is Marta’s position on Vance Brand airport? Is she in favor of continuing to accept FAA funding?
MARTA: The County and City of Longmont are parties on this concern and I was just recently sent some information and letters written by folks on airport noise in general. I understand that FAA Funding is part of a larger agreement and contract that affects funding and resources elsewhere for the City of Longmont. I don’t have a position at this time and once elected will want to hear the history and make sure that a broad group of community members share both sides of what seems like an initiative to stop FAA funding before a decision is reached.
Resources and Older Populations
Online: I am looking for practical and effective use of what we have and caring for the older population.
MARTA: I am a very different candidate than previous elected officials who return from the State and take the seats on the Board of Commissioners. As a single mom and previous teacher, I am committed to using resources effectively. I have experience as an Interim Board member of Solera National Bank, serve on the Longmont United Hospital Centura Health Board, volunteered on the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) Denver Board among other service for organizations. Those leadership roles have developed my fiscal and human resource responsibiity which will be critical addressing changes after CVID-19.
I am concerned about aging residents as well. The two main issues I’ve heard from our aging residents since 2018 when I started meeting with groups about this position on the Board are housing and transportation. We have some excellent programs and a variety of transit options that we need to connect users and resources more effectively. I know my previous work with nonprofits and emergency management teams will be valuable to consider how we connect more of our Boulder County residents.
Organic Farming and Environmental Justice
Online: Marta recently posted "Had a great meeting with Organic Land & Farm participants today. Our local agricultural plans & system need to be rebuilt and developed to benefit everyone. Appreciate the dialogue and learning more about aligned goals on environmental justice to support Boulder County residents." How, specifically, do you plan to do this?
MARTA: There is so much pressure on our resources and I believe that we have local experts throughout Boulder County who know our land, know the needs and already have the research and data to create a healthier soil and environmentally friendly way of using land. Locally a few pilot projects were accepted this Spring to pilot regenerative practices that create healthy earth and address climate action which is a wonderful step and yet there wasn’t nearly enough funding to support the desire and interest in our community. Farmers I have spoken with are looking for ways to allow temporary workers to work on land,workforce housing, and different uses to highlight tourism. One of my long term goals is to support Boulder County in the creation of a sustainable demand for local agriculture. We need to teach through outdoor style laboratories about Boulder County and the need to support local agriculture- to all ages and not just kids. Those ideas connected to ensuring that more of our 330,000 residents can be part of agriculture will help us all. The development of creative ways to get agriculture, healthy eating, carbon sequestration and learnings specifically with Spanish speaking residents was brought up in that meeting as a way to connect together-while learning and sharing healthy living together.
Online: What is your position on fracking in Boulder County? Would you support a County wide ban?
Text: What will Marta do to keep fracking out of Boulder County?
MARTA: I have testified at two moratorium hearings and testified locally to ask for more folks to be included in Just Transition and use of SB-181 to protect the community. I have gone on record as a parent, as a previous teacher that we must protect the earth and our communities, natural habitats from the negative effects of fracking. I have shared that if it hasn’t been done by the time a January 21 term begins, I will ask for a vote to move the commissioners to ban fracking. I will not support new oil and gas development in Boulder County or the infrastructure connected to it. We also need to ensure that maintenance and clean up of wells happens for the wells and is paid for by the corporations doing the damage to the earth.
Text: What is Marta’s feelings on energy independence?
MARTA: I have been around the environmental movement my entire life. There is a serious connection between those most affected by our inability thus far, to move to renewable energy. We need to continue our local county goals of moving to renewable energy and one of my goals is to lead efforts to include more folks in Just Transition work for Boulder County- now, as part of the planning and not as catch up later.
Immigrants and Basic Needs
Online: What is your plan to keep Boulder a place for all immigrants who come from so many different socio-economic/geographic backgrounds (such as professors at CU/ undocumented ones in the shadows) accessible in terms of equitable education, housing, food, health care and fair access to the justice system?
MARTA: The City of Boulder has been working on a racial equity plan. The County has Equity as one of the top strategic priorities and local governments are participating in Government Alliance on Racial Equity (GARE). And yet when we look at the history of racial inequity in the systems that govern our county we will find gaps in racial equity policies, practices in hiring, allocation of funds, bilingual pay and other issues of accessibility. My unique life experience as an immigrant, having studied and taught in Mexico and Ecuador guides my leadership to look at processes in a critical way to find solutions that will build more trust and broaden more access to the programs, services, wrap arounds for community members at all times- not just during a crisis- at the county level. I have been part of work locally to create systemic change in hiring policies, banking products, funding sources on food access and behavior health programming and other work in a variety of organizations. I will work to instill a Racial Equity & Inclusion Department to support racial equity throughout all the work done in the county issues in the county to lift employees up, so they can do that for other residents. The work has to be done from the beginning and not as a side subcommittee.
Text: How does Marta feel about defunding the police?
MARTA: I agree 100% that our county police department (county commission role) must follow others’ examples and publicly share the funding distribution, commit to reallocate to support services and create plans that will help communities. I will advocate that all cities/towns in the county work together and support the critical work. I would like to see a regional approach similar to what we’ve done on Climate, Transportation, and Housing could be helpful to get it done well and quicker.
Fining Home Builders
Text: Will she fine home builders heavily who do not meet the affordable housing quotas that are often required of them? That basically has not been done before.
MARTA: I have been working with 1st time homebuyers for over 20 years and will use that important experience to advocate for the continued implementation of the Regional Housing Plan. I am working with nonprofits, property owners, housing authorities to create more options with hopes of incentivizing versus punishing to get more local builders to want to come back and build in Boulder County.
Building Code in County
Email: Do you feel Boulder County's building codes and fees are good as is, need to be more stringent/expensive, or less stringent/expensive?
MARTA: I've had a few people ask this and I haven't compared county fees to other cities to respond prior to doing that research. I gather from the question that it's a concern and I'm open to looking into that when elected. The building codes and staff doing reviews, approvals issue at a larger level has come up with other community members and without knowing the specifics in your situation I do believe that a review needs to be done. What I can share is that in my background in real estate and working with small family owned builders has given me the opportunity to work with local planning and zoning offices around the Front Range and I believe we have an opportunity after COVID-19 especially, to look at the processes/costs and times of response.
Email: As I hope you know, for the past 25 years the Boulder County Commission has been guilty of a major violation of one of its core responsibilities by refusing to maintain the County-owned HOA roads. I am a Democrat who is dismayed by this longstanding lockstep stubbornness by my party. So, if elected, will you work to change the HOA roads policy and see to the restoration of the County-owned HOA roads?
Online: I would like to know Marta's proposal to put an end to the ridiculous stalemate we have had ongoing for decades regarding the maintenance of residential roads in unincorporated BC. Some of these roads are long overdue for resurfacing, but the County Commissioners have refused (so far) to solve the problem. How will Marta lead to finally fix the funding problem?
Email: People in our subdivision and others are extremely concerned about road maintenance and paving. They are so concerned that they seem to be refusing to consider voting for anyone who doesn't take a stance on this issue to say, "I will help ensure that subdivision roads get paved when needed." I wonder if you can give some reassurances in this area?
MARTA: I have gotten several inquiries on the same topic and I'm sending you part of another dialogue on the same "I have learned more about county roads during this campaign since 2018 and plan to bring a review of road maintenance and the budget allocated to the matter to the rest of the board once I am elected."
The topic of roads is an issue and it's on my list to ask for a vote from commissioners once elected to re-review where that money is going and to have staff update the cost estimates to determine how to meet the need. There is a lot of work happening around climate change which also affects our roads. My understanding is that cost estimates have been done and there is funding for road maintenance.
Boulder Rifle Club
Email: My question to each of you is, “What will be your position on the proposed Boulder Rifle Club expansion?”
MARTA: I did take a look at the Partnership site and watched some of the videos there. I reached out to commissioners and asked for a little more background. From what I understand, the goals of the BCR Expansion are to provide a safe place for shooters to work within our highly urbanized forest. Looking through the site it seems to indicate what you mentioned- a lot of collaborative work has been put into the expansion and I agree that folks out recreating and shooters all need to feel safe. I support the work that has been done for the expansion to give shooters a quieter and safe space (and public) place to shoot.
Email: What policy tools if any will you use to improve rural broadband
access in mountain communities?
MARTA: In April I participated in a Agricultural conversation with elected officials as they gave updates on how information was being disseminated while orders would be changing and discussing essential work. I asked the question about percent of folks in rural Colorado are without Internet services (to receive the updates being described). I was told it was lower than I probably thought. Accessibility to information and resources is necessary for everyone- rural mountain to rural plains. I will work on this as a commissioner and look at what policy may be in place, history of broadband access in our mountain communities and work with residents in the mountains for that input as well.
Email: The current land use and planning process is hopelessly bogged down.
The high cost and extreme delays of working with the county planning
department encourage many landowners to avoid the permitting process
altogether. What concrete steps will you take to streamline the
regulatory process and make it more practical to adhere to county rules?
MARTA: I have talked with and heard discussions in the hearing room regarding concerns about the process. My real estate background is an asset when evaluating processes for planning/zoning/variances and other work that is done this department. The first step is evaluating the process, reviewing the data that will indicate the time of initial filing, responses and resolution. I have heard folks talk about months and years of working on approvals and like all levels of county one of my main goals is to create more transparency and accountability, in this case to land owners in the county.
Email: Do you have a long term vision for improving rural firefighting
services in Boulder county, especially in the mountains? As individual
fires in homes become increasingly unlikely due to improved building
codes, and large, fast-moving, wildfires become increasingly likely due
to climate change, do you feel the existing system of individual
volunteer departments makes sense? Would it be better to consolidate
some or all of these departments to create a fire service better
equipped to handle this new threat?
Email: Would you eliminate the fire code regulatory authority of local volunteer fire departments and instead create a single, countywide fire code based on current research and best practices? This would eliminate the current patchwork of regulations across the mountains (often based in little more than guesses by volunteer firefighters who lack expertise in fire science).
MARTA: I do not have a current plan on on rural firefighting services. I have done extensive collaborative work with BC Office of Emergency Management in Preparedness and Preparation work while I was completing the Resiliencia Para Todos Project for the State of Colorado. I believe that department has collaborative working relationships with parties region wide who can support the determination for changes necessary and will know the history of how firefighting services has functioned to determine changes needed.
Email: Thank you for running for county commissioner! I was wondering do you have a position on whether or not GMO crops should be allowed to be farmed on Boulder County open space? Either yes no or a more nuanced position?
MARTA: I think it's the right decision to move off GMO crops and I have also met with some farmers and others who have shared their stories and experiences about the way the decision was made. I have learned a lot about the history of agriculture during this campaign specifically and know that local land experts need to be part of the solutions about how we continue supporting ag in Boulder County. I believe we need to find ways to ensure county land is healthy and give back to our entire ecosystem especially for folks who are renting it from the county. I would like to see agricultural growth in our county and that will require creating a consumer and business demand in buying and fully supporting local grown agriculture and farming.
Balancing Open Space & Affordable Housing
Email: How do you see balancing open space and affordable housing?
MARTA: Balancing open space and affordable housing is one of the historical topics in Boulder County. It has been for so many years and I have been part of those conversations in Housing & Health Task Forces for the City of Longmont and working with affordable housing programs, initiatives and financing over the last 20 years. To address the continual need for housing the county has the Regional Housing Plan to follow and I believe we need to focus on land that is currently zoned for housing. Our open space is vital and I believe we need to make sure it's intentionally open to all our residents, that it is healthy land and is maintained.
Voicemail: How did you get my personal phone number to text me?
Marta: Due to COVID-19 we decided the safest way to reach voters is to call and text to voters to ensure they know they have a choice in the District 2 race. We have a contract that allows us access to Colorado voter files. Our volunteers have been sharing with voters that the DNC recommends responding with STOP to have your number opted out.