Monday, April 11, 2011

Action Alert: Why is the "green" candidate not supporting the FPA ordinance?

(To jump to the sample email, look for the Action Alert below.)

Councilman Doug Linkhart is a City Councilperson At-Large (meaning he represents all of Denver) and is currently running for Mayor. Whenever Linkhart speaks at sustainability events, he touts his history with the the EPA and likes to bill himself as the "green" candidate. However, in his role as a City Councilperson, Linkhart has not yet said that he would support the proposed Food Producing Animals ordinance.

Regardless of the results of the first mayoral ballot on May 3rd, Linkhart will still retain his City Council seat through May 16th, which is when the Food Producing Animals (FPA) ordinance will be up for a vote. With only 12 people serving on our City Council right now, every vote is critically important. We need him to vote in favor of the ordinance.

When I've spoken with Councilman Linkhart about this issue, part of his hesitation stems from his desire to be the "neighborhood" guy in addition to the "green" guy. We need to let Linkhart know that sustainable food systems actually help to build community, and that implementation of FPA ordinances in other cities has not diminished property values or quality of life. All of us who live in Denver should be counted as "neighborhood" people. He also needs to understand that his positioning of himself as a green candidate needs to include support for a well-written FPA ordinance.

Since Linkhart is a Councilperson At-Large, everyone in Denver can write him about this issue. Please feel free to craft your own email, edit the sample email below, or use the sample email in its entirety. Thank you for your help as we take these important steps to pass a new Food Producing Animals ordinance for Denver!
Action Alert

Send your email to all of these addresses: (this is Linkhart's aide, and she'll be sure the emails reach him)

Subject line:
The FPA ordinance -- Good for sustainability AND neighborhoods!
Dear Councilman Linkhart,

I am a Denver resident, living in the ______ neighborhood. I love where I live, and consider myself to be a "neighborhood" person. I am writing to ask you to support the Food Producing Animals (FPA) ordinance.

In your campaign for Mayor, you often portray yourself as the "green" candidate. You're quoted in HuffPost Denver as saying that if you're elected, "Denver will be the greenest city in the country." If that's the case, then why are you not taking a position in favor of the FPA ordinance? Other cities that are green and progressive -- like Seattle -- have already adopted ordinances similar to what Denver is considering. Why should Denver be left behind in its quest to be a truly green city?

Please understand that the FPA ordinance is about more than just chickens and goats. It really is an accurate barometer of where an elected official stands on sustainability issues. The FPA ordinance represents supporting well-researched and well-written policies that address a legitimate urban sustainability issue -- even in the face of knee-jerk NIMBYism and fear of change. If you can't vote for an ordinance that has the support of Community Planning & Development, the Department of Environmental Health, and the Denver Planning Board, how can we trust that you'll take a stand for sustainable policies if you become Mayor?

If you listen to the stories of those who raise backyard chickens and goats (like these in the North Denver Tribune: you would understand that these animals help to build community and connect neighbors in a positive way. There is absolutely no evidence in the experience of other cities that points to problems with property values or neighborhood quality of life following the implementation of FPA ordinances.

Please support the Food Producing Animals ordinance. It's a sustainable, sensible policy for Denver.

(your name)

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