Colorado Municipal League Annual Meeting and Conference

I took three days off of work and headed up to Breckenridge for the annual meeting and conference of the Colorado Municipal League. If you don’t know, CML provides resources to local communities like ours and advocates for the interests of local governments at the state legislature and elsewhere. I find the annual meetings valuable (I went last year and now this year) in part because of the speakers and panels. I am very interested in learning and improving on the skills required to be effective as an elected representative and CML is a good opportunity to do that.

The issues covered in sessions I attended sessions included:

• ethics and ethics standards for elected representatives.
• open meeting laws and rules
• economic development in small towns
• quasi-judicial processes
• municipal budgeting and financial management
• climate change and municipal climate change action plans

I already wrote a bit about the climate change panel, and I wrote a bit about the Ethics in Government Initiative, one of the subjects discussed during the panel on ethics.

One of the lunch speakers was Jim Hunt, a City Councilor from Clarksburg, West Virginia and the president of the National League of Cities (the national version of the Colorado Municipal League). He focused on building inclusive communities, and speaks from the experience of serving a community with a long history of deep racial divisions. He is encouraging local communities to commit to becoming more inclusive, with a particular focus on two themes:

  • Promoting equal opportunity and fairness.
  • Promoting citizen participation and engagement.

The City Councils in Brighton, Lafayette, and Lakewood at least one other city – I think Lakewood but don’t remember for sure – have all adopted resolutions commiting to improving the inclusiveness of their communities. I strongly support these goals and look forward to exploring ways we can forward both of them.

The other reason I attend CML is for the opportunity to continue building relationships with elected representatives from other communities across Colorado, especially our neighbors in the Denver Metro area. As I’ve written and said many times before, some of our most important challenges in Golden are regional challenges, and we can’t hope to succeed without good relationships with other communities in the region. We have almost no chance of improving Golden’s air quality unless we work closely with the neighboring communities where so much of the air pollution is generated. The same is true if we hope to continue improving on the region’s transit system. Of course the fight over the superhighway fits into the same category: to defeat the proposed Billion Dollar Boondoggle and instead make real improvements that actually benefit Golden and the region we have to work closely with our neighbors across the region.

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