Taishya Adams moved to Boulder in 2011. She is the founder of the Mukuyu Collective, an environmental organization. She was the first Black woman to serve as a commissioner to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. She was an inaugural member of the city’s Police Oversight Panel, which reviews internal investigations into complaints of officer misconduct. She serves on many boards, including Black in Marine Science, an organization seeking to increase racial diversity in marine science, and the Business Advisory Council for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. She is a breast cancer survivor.

Endorsements: Better Boulder, Boulder Progressives, Bedrooms Are For People, and Sierra Club Indian Peaks

Answers to questionnaire:

What do you think are the most promising initiatives for reducing homelessness?

Homelessness is a response to failed policy, not failed people. I believe the most promising initiatives in reducing homelessness are those that are sufficiently funded, staffed and supported over multiple years. Our affected community members and community support organizations have been clear on the need for sustained support of existing evidence-based approaches (e.g. day community center) while expanding mental health, detox, recovery, transitional living, etc.  This is not charity.  These extreme inequities are a result of a system that encourages myopic economic growth on the backs of discriminatory policies. 

We are in a climate emergency. With your leadership, how would Boulder change commensurately?

We must access and leverage every single penny of the historic climate investments at the federal, state and city government to expand our city’s climate staff, budget, partnerships and resources. We must ensure climate impacts from the built environment are adequately assessed, measured, aligned to city goals, reported and used to inform every decision in our city. Without habitat for all living beings in our ecosystem, humans cannot survive.

How can we better provide alternatives to cars when existing infrastructure prioritizes cars?

We need alternatives that meet real people and families where they are. A $500 rebate on a $1,200 bike will not meet the needs of our multi-generational/large families, families with children at different schools and multiple jobs, or people with disabilities. We need to significantly invest in expanded bus lines and service hours, car share programs, as well as related issues like a living wage which allows for many more to access rebates and other incentive programs. It is worth noting that rebates are funded by the very taxpayers who cannot afford to access the rebate.  

What is your plan for increasing Boulder’s affordable housing supply?

We need to better define what “affordable” means across the socioeconomic spectrum in our city. Building on the recent success of the rise in occupancy limit, we must invest in climate resilient neighborhoods with multi-unit duplex, triplexes, commercial, transportation and community/communal spaces. Houses are a part of a neighborhood, which also must include access to food, jobs, childcare, schools, etc. 

What approach would you take to address camping in our parks, on our bike paths and along our waterways?

I advocate for investments in evidence-based, knowledge-aligned proactive approaches like basic income support, increasing the minimum wage to a living wage to stop new people from becoming unhoused, and expand affordable housing programs to include transitional and sober living options. I bring an ecosystem approach to policymaking that addresses more than the tip of the iceberg.

Assume you are elected this November. Now imagine it’s November one year later. What one, specific thing will you have accomplished that you’re proud of? Put another way, what will define success for you after one year on council, or as mayor?

Success after year one on council will be improved processes and community activation. We will be closer to the collaboration rating on the Boulder Engagement Framework while also reducing bottlenecks and blindspots in our city’s policies, procedures, programs and initiatives. It is critical that we move beyond informing and consulting towards collective policymaking that shares the power, knowledge, wisdom, and courage to heal across communities and co-creating policies and investments that makes seven Boulder generations from now possible.

John Herrick is a reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering housing, transportation, policing and local government. He previously covered the state Capitol for The Colorado Independent and environmental policy for VTDigger.org. Email: john@boulderreportinglab.org.