Saturday, April 30, 2011

District 8 Candidates' Positions on FPA Ordinance

The race for the District 8 City Council seat has 36 (or so, it's hard to keep track) people running as write-in candidates. Some of the residents of District 8 are understandably overwhelmed by the choices. A few Sustainable Food Denver supporters have asked me to survey the candidates for their position on the proposed Food-Producing Animals ordinance. 

The new District 8 councilperson will not be seated until mid-July, and the FPA ordinance is currently scheduled for a vote on June 13th. However, even though the candidates will not have the opportunity to vote on the ordinance, their position is still important to many District 8 constituents.

I emailed every candidate who had an email address listed on the city elections website. The email went out on Monday afternoon. Below are the responses I have received.

In Favor of FPA Ordinance

Titus Peterson (
     I completely support urban homesteading including the keeping of chickens, ducks and goats.  I spent a significant amount of time in Switzerland and Germany where almost everyone has a collection of animals that they keep as pets and to produce food.  They are an integral part of the garden. 

     With that said, as a practical matter, I don't know why there is any real permitting process for people who are in compliance with the law.  It seems as if, so long as you have the requisite space, you should be able to buy the animals like a dog or a cat and bring them home without having to ask permission first.  If you wanted to keep animals in excess of what is allowed or in a smaller space than what is provided by law maybe permitting is appropriate but I don't see why the involvement of the city is required otherwise.   I see no reason why "drakes" should not be permitted.  I can sort of understand roosters, maybe, although I don't find there crowing any more annoying than leaf blowers or the many other machine noises that assault us all day long.  I don't know if male piggy goats are as aggressive as regular goats but surely they are not as aggressive as pit bulls which are presently allowed in the city. 
     I hope this helps.  Keep up the good work.   

Therese-Marie O'Sullivan (
     In general I am in favor of the FPA ordinance and would vote for it.

Susan Whitehurst (
     Yes! I strongly believe in sustainable living in an urban setting. Bring it on. It will only improve the character of our neighborhoods. I'm urban. I'm sustainable. Let's do it.

Generally in Favor; with Concerns/Reservations

Warren Edson (
     I am in support of the FPA.  The amendments appear to address most potential noise and odor issues.  Is there a number where you can be reached where we can discuss the details?  I do have a few concerns about animal waste disposal but would also like to discuss expanding other areas. (Note from Sundari: I did follow up with Warren to try and set up a phone call for further discussion, but we haven't been able to connect yet.)

Penelope Zeller (
     (1st answer -- on Facebook pageGood question, complicated answer... I fully support FPA but am not completely satisfied with the proposed language in the upcoming ordinance. As we discussed at INC last meeting, the ordinance will likely need to pass as is because of the time frame, then citizens and Council will need to work on tweaking the language for a better ordinance for animals and people. There are too many specifics to write - character limited on facebook - so come to a Forum and we can discuss details.
     (Follow-up -- via emailThanks for your inquiry about this one topic.  In short, I am concerned about amount permeable ground for the welfare of the animals. Combined with the pet ordinance that allows 3 (sometimes) large dogs plus two goats, this might be a strain on a small lot. Since no notice to neighbors is neccessary for dog and cats in a home, I do not feel that neighbor notice should be required for chickens or goats. Just as most responsible pet owners obtain training for themselves and their pets, I think we need to look at potential basic farm education for urbanites. 
      (I worked my garndparent chicken farm as a kid - I am really concerned that some urbanites may have a romantic notion of the idea of fresh eggs and really not understand how much work is involved. Education is a key in my opinion.)
      There's much more, but I hope you understaind that this is one of many many topics to address in a very limited time. 
     Ultimately, no matter my own personal feelings, this and other topics are at the will of an informed constituenticy. For instance, I have a reputation of practicing research and outreach.  83 repondents to a survey about dog parks, or any issue for that matter, does not set the tone for a decision that affects 40,000+ residents.

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