October 4, 2023 | NEWS | By Sofia Joucovsky
On Sept. 14, Mayor Yemi Mobolade and the City of Colorado Springs held a “State of the City” event at the Broadmoor Hotel to commemorate his first 100 days in office. Members of the community were invited to hear Mobolade’s remarks about what he has accomplished over the past few months.
Some of the main focuses of Mobolade’s speech were military involvement, Peterson Space Force base, housing for seniors, mental health, infrastructure, and the new police academy, which has been divisive among Colorado Springs voters.
In August, Mobolade proposed a city council ballot initiative to build a new police academy in Colorado Springs using taxpayer bill of rights funds. The council approved the initiative, meaning that in November, voters will decide whether the city can retain $4.75 million in taxpayer funding to build the facility.
Advocates for the police academy, including Mobolade, say it will train police in accountability, create a safer city, and enable faster response times to 911 calls.
Those against the bill, such as community advocate Chauncey Johnson, say the funding could be better spent elsewhere, such as housing and infrastructure. Moreover, Johnson added that a new police facility will lead to over-policing communities of color.
“Our officers are asking for more training, and our community is asking for better training around de-escalation techniques. Colorado Springs, I hear you,” Mobolade said. “And that’s why a vote for this ballot item is a vote for public safety. I hope you join me in voting ‘yes’ on 2A, this November.”
Despite the contentious debate over policing, Mobolade has found success in other efforts in his first 30 days, partially supported by the previous administration.
The city’s 2020-24 strategic plan, which was created by former Mayor John Suthers, has not yet been updated to include Mobolade’s goals. That being said, some of them do align with Suthers’ 2022 Strategic plan – including diversity, equity and inclusivity plans, promoting the creation of jobs, protecting city scenery, and investing in infrastructure.
The three tenets of the speech were: building support within government, building trust with our community and “addressing our most pressing and urgent issues.”
Mobolade mentioned meeting with different officials in Washington D.C. and in The Springs, noting working with the Biden Administration to keep the U.S. Space Command in town. He also discussed creating more housing by working with community leaders.
In terms of building trust within the community, he discussed his listening tour. The tour faced controversy because parts occurred during working hours, so many people were not available to see him. Mobolade also referenced his biweekly progress report.
His last point, addressing the “most pressing and urgent issues,” focused on infrastructure, such as potholes, poorly maintained sidewalks, fixing and expanding roads, and public safety.
Mayor Mobolade’s office has published a dashboard to track progress on specific goals outlined in his “First 100 Days Blueprint.” According to the dashboard, Mobolade has completed 95% of the blueprint, with the remaining 5% “on hold.”
“Onward and upward,” Mobolade concluded his speech, moments before a standing ovation.