The Coloradoan indicated that a difference of 34 votes makes our race too close to call, and the City Clerk’s office has a number of steps to go to finalize a result and has asked for more time to do that.
Mindful that our country just went through a divisive election in November, we should give the Clerk’s office time to do their work until we have a definitive result. Declaring one way or another is premature.
I’m tremendously proud of the campaign we’ve run and the volunteer team. Whether we win or lose, we don’t take our ball and go home. We take a breath and then get back on the court and practice again. Today, I’m getting back to work to make a better future for Fort Collins.
A play on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous quote: “In every campaign, it helps to be a little deaf.”
That is: we should work to support the big picture while letting petty things slide.
Win or lose, please join me in helping the newly elected City Council understand the importance of the ideas half of you voted to support – that your neighbor on City Council should have your back no matter where you live, to respond to you, work with you, and empower you.
We should fight against divisiveness and false dichotomies and polarizing outcomes and eliminate them wherever they exist.
The difference of 34 votes makes clear District 1 has two large groups of neighbors with different priorities. Yet, we are far more united than divided despite the 250+ miles my team and I covered to traverse every neighborhood and knock on nearly every door in our District.
Here are the opportunities to support the big picture I noted from our conversations:
Neighbors in every neighborhood of District 1 shared a concerning sentiment: they do not feel empowered or heard or engaged. They worry about irresponsible development paired with overburdened infrastructure.
Councilmember Gutowsky responded in The Coloradoan by saying the “demographic shift” was recent, was “amused” by my insistence that the status quo was not working for many neighbors in District 1, and misrepresented my call for County and City collaboration on infrastructure funding as “giving a free pass to developers”.
Any neighbor north of Mulberry could tell you the “demographic shift” is nothing new.
The “free pass” idea is a false dichotomy that deflects accountability.
There’s nothing amusing about polarizing outcomes that stall critical safety and transportation infrastructure updates.
My offer stands to walk with City Council through these neighborhoods they rarely visit so they may witness the impact of these issues first-hand. District 1’s infrastructure issues inform our approach to pedestrian safety throughout the City and cannot continue to be ignored.
A common campaign tactic vilifies small business owners as anti-environment – as happened when I was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, regardless of the positions I held on issues.
Another tactic disparages an entrepreneur’s experience as not community-driven, despite the fact that small businesses are supported entirely by and employ over half of our local community.
Councilmember Gutowsky in the past publicly praised my extensive community leadership in Fort Collins Comic Con and Fort Collins Startup Week. For the sake of winning a campaign, this praise gave way to disparagement.
Fellow local business owners found this disparagement of valuable leadership expertise particularly tone-deaf and deeply worrying during COVID recovery efforts.
My expertise is available and open to the City Council whenever it is requested. I will continue to provide resources, platforms, and outreach to our small business and creative communities as I have for the last decade.
We should all be alarmed the election efforts spent more in 3 months than my team and I raised in 6 years for the Poudre Libraries through Fort Collins Comic Con.
To vilify one source of spending while celebrating another supporting your favored candidate or issue only works to create deep cynicism in our electoral system and its outcomes. To vilify or celebrate your candidate neighbors because of any particular endorsement as opposed to their stance on issues is a fast pathway to polarized leadership.
These campaign squabbles are opportunities for behavior change – not just from our candidates but from our Council and City Leaders. Civil discourse and teamwork are short-circuited by false dichotomies and divisive language.
A difference of 34 votes is not a mandate. 34 votes represent about one street of homes. We must not allow a close apparent result to tear us apart, regardless of what the final outcome is when the process is said and done.
We must be a little deaf to the pettiness and take note of opportunities to support the big picture: a better future for Fort Collins.
We should fight the toxic magnetism of divisiveness and false dichotomies and polarizing outcomes and eliminate them wherever they exist.
We should empower our best and brightest minds to run for office, empowered by publicly funded campaigns and ranked-choice voting.
We should encourage the City to run municipal candidate school year-round, host municipal education and training programs to highlight how things work in the City, and encourage civic engagement and participation at every level.
As I said yesterday morning, no matter how the election turns out, know that I intend to have your back. Know that I will advocate for you, side by side with you, from whatever side of the council chambers you’ve voted to place me. Know that you have a right to be heard, to be respected, to be acknowledged by your elected officials.
I’m getting back to work for a better future for Fort Collins. Are you ready to join me? https://nickforfoco.com/join-the-team/