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Youth Board Interviews Nederland Board of Trustees Candidates

Updated: Apr 3

On March 18, 2022, the Nederland Youth Board (NYB), in partnership with the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), interviewed Board of Trustees candidates about issues that impact local youth. Neither NYB nor YLA engage in electoral topics in any way. However, election time is a critical period for building relationships with potential elected officials and putting candidate commitments on-record.



Candidate: Tom Mahowald



1. What are your campaign points?


I would like to bring more jobs to Nederland to keep people in Nederland instead of needing to commute up and down the canyon. I’d like to see people making their investments up here. We've got a decent retail base up here. It’d be great to bring more tech jobs that could be based here that aren’t based here but are in Boulder at the moment.


2. How would you ensure Town’s policies were gender identity inclusive?


I think we need to be cognizant of this particularly within business and actively engage in bias training.


We could sponsor something at the city level if we had a champion to steward the movement. I would certainly roll up my sleeves and help with this movement to get a pride celebration in our city.


3. What can you tell us about your knowledge and understanding of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the town and Boulder County? What are the related issues?


It's one of many IGA’s, the one we just extended includes annexation which is a hot button issue at the moment. And I think it was wise to roll it to the next board. I think we are good to let the IGA run its course but we need to think as a community about what we want to do. One of the related issues to this IGA is water is tied up in this. So we need to be vigilant of this because if a town runs out of water that is not good. We have to know what we want by the time this IGA is up for re-evaluation and in December we will need to negotiate for what we want.


a. Would you support renewing a new Intergovernmental Agreement with Boulder County if it does not allow Nederland to develop outward through annexation?

I am unsure at this point. I don't know enough to make a judgment on that.


4. Would you support, in practice, collaboration with The Nederland Youth Board? This could include being a BOT liaison for the Youth Board or visiting Youth Board about when topics of interest to youth arise.


Yeah, having worked with schools for a long time now that might be me, I have a strong interest in this. If you don’t have youth then you don’t have much of a future.


5. Do you support the plans for First Street put forth by Ron Mitchell? Please elaborate as much as you can.


There are parts of it that I like, but I think it's a behemoth. There are several issues I have with it. Number one is it’s ginormous and would require that we tear down a portion of the downtown for at least two or three years. Number two: how would it be financed? I would really want to know who is going to own the project, how big is it going to be and how much disruption would it be for the town.


6. How would you address the lack of workforce housing in Nederland? a. (if they don’t mention housing) Do you think this contributes to our struggle to keep talent up here, such as in town government and schools


If we do any substantial work downtown we need to include affordable housing. We totally do not have enough housing, it's insufficient for the workforce and is taking a toll on our ability to keep talent up here and I’m not quite sure how to solve it.


7. Do you support investing in a co-responder and mental health resources in Nederland? Please be specific about the mental health resources you believe are important and would support.


I found a lot of these resources are not cheap and they are not public. We are fortunate to have the resources we do have in a small town such as Nederland I think we are starting in a good place but I think we could do a whole lot better and there are county resources we are not tapping into that we need to.


8. What is your position on Caribou Mine and the related conflict over Boulder’s water quality?


Mining is our heritage. I'm very pro mine with some caveats, I wanna know who the hell is up the hill and what they are doing, so I went up and got a tour. I paid attention to what they’re pulling out but how they're doing their processing onsite, how they're doing their water capture and filtration. Our jurisdiction is very limited as a city in terms of oversight of the mine; there are 9 federal agencies watching over them as well as two county agencies. I think they have it under control and they intend to make this a carbon neutral operation and there are variables we need to watch monthly in terms of water contamination to ensure the mine is operating in a safe way.


a. What is your response to the mine’s threats to sue the Town of Nederland over flyers that were circulating in Boulder that were concerned with the mine’s impact on Boulder’s drinking water?


I said don’t do this going forward when you don't have the support of the town your capital is going to dry up and you won't have the support to continue.


9. What are some specific proposals you have to address parking in the town? Can you make sure, in responding, to speak to how parking relates to issues of traffic, pedestrian safety, and walkability?


There’s two or three issues here, number one is as simple as striping making sure that people know where they are supposed to park. Number two we have a public private issue Ron Mitchel owns a lot of the parking spaces, the town owns some, ownership shouldn’t be an issue in terms of people being able to park their car. So then you have to make a decision on how you feel about paid vs. unpaid parking. Because of the harshness of our climate I would love to see some underground parking. I walk ten to fifteen thousand steps every day. I'd like to see our paths extended, I’d like to see bike paths, and I'd like to see things that don’t require a car.



Candidate: David Sites


1. What are your campaign points?


I would like to see downtown redeveloped and to see a [second] bridge. Those are really big things. I would also like to bring back outdoor music. It isn't really something the town would do itself.... but I would like to see the town do everything it can do to facilitate that.


2. How would you ensure Town’s policies were gender identity inclusive?


Town doesn’t currently have anything that goes against that, that would be discriminatory. On the other hand, I don’t know anything that the town would do affirmatively. Do you have anything you’d recommend?


NYB follow-up Q: We don’t really celebrate Pride in June. How would you support the LGBTQ+ community?


If the community wanted to have a celebration, I would support it, even march in it. But I don’t think that would be something that the town would be in charge of. They could ask for a parade and we could support that.


3. What can you tell us about your knowledge and understanding of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the town and Boulder County? What are the related issues?


There are a number of components to that. But the annexation is the one that gets everyone’s attention. And the agreement would’ve expired this month. The current BOT voted to extend it to the end of the year. So then it’s a question of how the annexation is– how much do we want to annex, and how much does Boulder County want to let us annex? And I’d have to look at the actual proposal. I don’t see a strong reason to annex anything. The Bobcat Ridge Project is big enough that I would put…cause that is a very big decision. So I’m kind of 60/40 in favor of it, but I don’t the BOT should make that decision. And the other part is that I want to get as much cooperation with Boulder as possible. They have the resources, so the more we cooperate with them the better.


NYB follow-up Q: Would you support renewing a new Intergovernmental Agreement with Boulder County if it does not allow Nederland to develop outward through annexation?


If it did not include, then no. But I would say that right now it’s a two way deal, and I think that’s a pretty good arrangement. If we want to annex something big, like Bobcat Ridge. The people who want to be annexed have to start the project, it’s not like we can “seize” them.


4. Would you support, in practice, collaboration with The Nederland Youth Board? This could include being a BOT liaison for the Youth Board or visiting Youth Board about when topics of interest to youth arise.


If I understand correctly, each trustee gets one of these boards, and this would be an interesting board to serve on. And I do support what you guys are doing. You’re asking better questions than I’ve gotten anywhere else. What would you guys like to see?


5. Do you support the plans for First Street put forth by Ron Mitchell? Please elaborate as much as you can.


Yes. The reason for that is that, if you look at Envision 2020, which direction we’d like to go, and it was all about developing downtown. And there’s a lot of reasons to support a compact center of town where people can walk to wherever they needed to go and by building more housing more people will be able to live there. And it’s going to be very hard for people to move and stay here who don’t already own their house unless we build more houses or apartment complexes which can then be rented out at market rate so that people can live here. This is all in the context of keeping the town limits the way they are. We don’t want to go–I don’t want to go– out and expand into a bunch of new housing places.


How would you address the lack of workforce housing in Nederland? Do you think this contributes to our struggle to keep talent up here, such as in town government and schools?


That’s it right there [Envision 2020]. Affordable housing means that you’re spending <30% of your income on housing. I mean, you can do that with apartments. But it’s gonna be hard to get stand alone housing - it’s just harder.


I don’t know if Boulder County school salaries are competitive, but I know living prices are high here.


7. Do you support investing in a co-responder and mental health resources in Nederland? Please be specific about the mental health resources you believe are important and would support.


I think we just did something like that with the police department.


NYB Interjects: Still waiting on that. The town applied but hasn’t heard about the grant yet.


I just saw an article that in Denver they sent out, instead of sending police on 2,000 different calls they sent these mental health responders and it went very well. So that’s clearly a great idea. I suspect our new police chief is kind of on that wavelength.


8. What is your position on Caribou Mine and the related conflict over Boulder’s water quality?


Boulder County and federal government have the resources to hold their feet to the fire. My sense is that this is proof of concept of mining in the 21st century. I don’t think they’re going to get away with polluting very much, that’s for sure.

  • NYB Follow-Up Q: So, you think it’s pretty much out of the town government’s hands?

Yes, I do. We don’t have the jurisdiction. As individual citizens we might. I mean, the creek straddles my property. As a citizen, I might go in there but I’d better have the test to prove what I’m saying. I think they [the mines] are going to do this correctly. I mean, they’ve got people from the School of Mines and … smart people working on this.

  • NYB Follow-Up Q: If citizens did have the tests to prove their concerns, do you think that the town government would support them in requesting country gov support?

I think the county government is the correct jurisdiction. We could ask, but ultimately they have the jurisdiction.


9. What are some specific proposals you have to address parking in the town? Can you make sure, in responding, to speak to how parking relates to issues of traffic, pedestrian safety, and walkability?


Well, there’s only so much. So the best thing to do is to make the best use of what you have.... On the West side there’s quite a bit of parking- the RTD and others. When you get to the other side of the street, the park that’s owned by Ron Mitchell. A lot of the buildings on that side were built before that was a concern....One of the advantages of the development proposal is that it’d add a lot of parking.


NYB Follow-Up Q: What’s your opinion on paid vs unpaid parking?


Personally I’m against paid parking. And you know they put out a survey and the survey is against paid parking as well. So it’s not something I would… you know a two hour parking plan is something I’d be interested in. Parking meters, I wouldn’t. I’m not a supporter. I’m not super against it...


I’ve heard discussion about the RTD becoming a parking garage. It would increase utilization…


And the other part of the development is that central part, and the design for it includes other parking, under, and water’s going to be the challenge.


Candidate: Tania Corvalan (submitted in writing)



1. What are your campaign points?

My main campaign point is I will be present and available for questions and concerns. I would like to focus on the fun aspects of town- the recreation and the down town. I am most interested in developing our waterfront and parks to make this a fun place for everyone- for example a performance space, pump track, frisbee golf, trails, picnic pavilion, ball field all in one area... I would also like to see the pocket parks utilized as part of this plan with connecting signage and trails.


2. How would you ensure Town’s policies were gender identity inclusive?

I am not sure how gender is relevant in any of our discussions and not sure- have gender fluid individuals felt unwelcome in Nederland? I'm not trying to belittle this issue but I have always felt that Nederland has always been a welcome place for those of all genders including individuals who are non binary or who have switched genders. I have never seen gender play any role in town policy and don't know why it will in the future.


3. What can you tell us about your knowledge and understanding of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the town and Boulder County? What are the related issues? Would you support renewing a new Intergovernmental Agreement with Boulder County if it does not allow Nederland to develop outward through annexation?.


I would absolutely support the renewal of an IGA if any annexation for Nederland isn't allowed. I think Nederland has a lot to improve and we are in no position to annex land esp[ecially] in order to create developments.


My hope is with negotiation is that maybe Boulder can help us with solutions with Eldora traffic and involve us in oversight and regulation of the mine. I personally do not feel annexation of land outside of town limits needs to happen in the near future.


4. Would you support, in practice, collaboration with The Nederland Youth Board? This could include being a BOT liaison for the Youth Board or visiting Youth Board about when topics of interest to youth arise.


Yes except I personally don't have enough time to volunteer on another board. But I think it's a great idea and welcome your ideas and feedback.


5. Do you support the plans for First Street put forth by Ron Mitchell? Please elaborate as much as you can.


It's his land and building and right now many of them are practically blighted. He does not maintain them past the point of function because he doesn't want to invest too much money in something that he will tear down and I understand that. I wish he would begin with some of the housing and do it little by little. I have accepted that this change is inevitable and personally I feel Ron would be a better person to work with than some out of town developer who could swoop in and do it even worse. The fact is that one day this land could be sold to. developer and I would rather work with Ron. Which is why I would like him to begin. He has some good ideas including an underground parking garage. That could be really helpful. Of course- I would like for nothing to change but I don't think it's an option and I think we should work with Ron in a friendly way always working for compromise. He would create a lot of housing which is something people are always complaining about to town staff and on social media.


6. How would you address the lack of workforce housing in Nederland? Do you think this contributes to our struggle to keep talent up here, such as in town government and schools?


Yes, we need more housing and of course it's why we are losing workforce and families and replacing them with second home owners or digital nomads. Town has some lots that some workforce housing could be built. Town could encourage ADU's by lowering permits costs or PIF fees to those who promise to rent long term. Town could work with Ron. He wants to build workforce housing. Why is he not doing it?


7. Do you support investing in a co-responder and mental health resources in Nederland? Please be specific about the mental health resources you believe are important and would support.


Yes- I believe we added one with ARP funding to help the police. Many calls to the police are mental health related- partner abuse and drug abuse and depression related so yes- this is important. I would hope also to identify children at risk. I feel many kids are living in poverty and I'm not thinking about money though it can be related but with parents that are neglectful and have mental health issues themselves. I don't want to remove children from families but I want the parents to get help and do everything to keep kids in school- after school programs- tutors- so that the kids can do well regardless of household environment and support.


8. What is your position on Caribou Mine and the related conflict over Boulder’s water quality? What is your response to the mine’s threats to sue the Town of Nederland over flyers that were circulating in Boulder that were concerned with the mine’s impact on Boulder’s drinking water?


The mine has been around for decades. We need to ensure the water is being tested frequently and any issues immediately result in cease of operations and fines. I would like the air quality monitored as well. This mine is adjacent to wilderness- pristine beauty and a Nederland treasure. They need to understand this and operate in a way that maintains the integrity of the water, earth and air. Their letter was hostile. It makes me not like them at all. Traffic is also a big issue if they will be bringing large trucks up and down that road. I wish they were gone but mining is a part of our history- the main part. So we just need to accept it and keep them on best practices,


9. What are some specific proposals you have to address parking in the town? Can you make sure, in responding, to speak to how parking relates to issues of traffic, pedestrian safety, and walkability?


This is too big {a question to answer fully in a questionnaire]. We need a parking garage, a shuttle, right of way parking identified and expanded, streets plowed and maintained, enforcement of the two hour limit, encourage car pooling and bus riding, better signage- all that would be a good start.



Candidate: Riley McAllister


An invitation and a questionnaire were provided. No response was received.



Candidate: Karen Blakemore


1. What are your campaign points?


I’m passionate about the environment and community, when I think of all the different things in my life those are the two that are most important to me...


My priorities if elected would be to uphold the comprehensive plan (the guiding document for the town), upholding the Intergovernmental agreement with (Boulder County which is due for an upgrade with it being 20 years old), Housing (People that have been living here for 20+ years who are being pushed out.) Workforce housing specifically is an issue we need to tackle because it's been forcing people out, and transportation to Reduce emissions, congestion, and offering alternative modes of transportation (multi modal)...


2. How would you ensure Town’s policies were gender identity inclusive?


I don’t see anything in the town policies that would exclude the gender neutral, but the language might be not inclusive... I think it's a great idea for those who are passionate about pride activities like hanging flags, marching, etc. to bring it to the board and be a champion for the movement...


3. What can you tell us about your knowledge and understanding of the Intergovernmental Agreement between the town and Boulder County? What are the related issues?

a. Would you support renewing a new Intergovernmental Agreement with Boulder County if it does not allow Nederland to develop outward through annexation?


I don't hold a particular stance on renewing it but I lean to support renewing the IGA but I believe it's a community decision. I am unsure about how my plans for more parking would fit into our plans without annexation. I assume that if we wanted to add parking on the outskirts of town we would need approval from Boulder county.


4. Would you support, in practice, collaboration with The Nederland Youth Board? This could include being a BOT liaison for the Youth Board or visiting Youth Board about when topics of interest to youth arise.


I would love to be someone that is supportive of the youth board.


5. Do you support the plans for First Street put forth by Ron Mitchell? Please elaborate as much as you can.


The plans are not up to code: the buildings are too tall and don't fit into town policies. Personally they look a bit too generic. I believe they look too much like walking in downtown Lafayette. However as a board of trustee member I would look at the town code to approve or deny Ron’s plans.


6. How would you address the lack of workforce housing in Nederland? a. (if they don’t mention housing) Do you think this contributes to our struggle to keep talent up here, such as in town government and schools.


People are worried about the price of rentals. I know some talented and important people that can't afford to stay up here. But I would need to study the issue more to come up with solutions.


7. Do you support investing in a co-responder and mental health resources in Nederland? Please be specific about the mental health resources you believe are important and would support.


I think someone that is familiar with issues that young people have is very important. I'm sure they get many suicide calls, domestic violence calls, etc. In short, yes, I do support it.


8. What is your position on Caribou Mine and the related conflict over Boulder’s water quality? What is your response to the mine’s threats to sue the Town of Nederland over flyers that were circulating in Boulder that were concerned with the mine’s impact on Boulder’s drinking water?

That area is heavily used for recreation and that mine owns over 600 acres up there. My main priority is acid mine drainage both currently and in the future as well as cave-ins. I believe the role the board of trustees have is to advocate for the health of our citizens and environment as well. While Boulder county does hold jurisdictions it is in Nederland's backyard. We are the ones affected so I believe we do have a place in this conversation.


9. What are some specific proposals you have to address parking in the town? Can you make sure, in responding, to speak to how parking relates to issues of traffic, pedestrian safety, and walkability?


For 1st street, I’m not too worried about walking in their, however it's not very friendly to disabled people. The planning commission will be looking at changes to the regulations for parking where the issue is that we can’t accommodate the requirements for parking in the code because we just don't have the space.


Something like Ron Mitchel's proposal we really need to speak about how we are going to accommodate that amount of parking. We also need to work with Eldora on how we deal with the congestion.




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