Council candidate Q&A: Jacob Richards
Name: Jacob Richards
Years lived in Grand Junction: 11
Political party: No
Why are you running for City Council?
We can do better. If elected, I will hold local government accountable, be a voice for the working folks that make up the majority of our city, ensure a fair shake for city residents, and help make Grand Junction a city we can take pride in.
How involved should the city be with homeless issues?
Homelessness is the canary in the coal mine. Folks are hurting, out of work, houses foreclosed or their mortgages under water, and well-paying jobs hard to find. For the chronically homeless, the city is spending money on symptoms instead of solutions. Ambulance, detox, shelter and policing costs can be avoided when people have access to low-income housing, for which there is enormous untapped market demand, and its concurrent benefits.
How should the city invest in economic development?
We need to do a better job of investing in our people and looking for homegrown business opportunities. A task force for competitiveness could bring the many stakeholders needed to address this question together to forge common ground, assess successes and failures of similar cities, and identify concrete steps for city action. Without an explicit plan, our community risks haphazardly groping for solutions in complex times.
Additionally, providing quality of life through parks and recreational spaces, safe streets, and a common-sense care for city aesthetics, makes the Grand Valley a more attractive place for employers and job seekers alike.
What is your philosophy of the city’s role in competing with the private sector?
Privatizing the ambulance service was an obvious mistake. Dollars and cents calculations do not belong in places where lives are on the line. In situations where local small businesses can innovate and offer efficient solutions, services should be in private hands. We should be ensuring that, whenever sensible, city contracts benefit local businesses or subcontractors.
How do you feel the city manager has performed?
It’s easy to scapegoat the city manager in these difficult times. The truth is that Grand Junction residents deserve a City Council that does its homework and can ensure that management is held accountable. Making public city documents actually public online would additionally empower citizens to evaluate managerial decisions.