District D: City Council candidate profiles

Editor’s Note: The Daily Sentinel is profiling each of the 10 candidates running for four Grand Junction City Council seats in the April 2 municipal election. The Sentinel used information from interviews and candidate forums to develop the profiles. Although the races are divided among districts, city residents get to cast votes in all four districts. Today, District D candidates are profiled.

Name: Bonnie Beckstein

Age: 60

Occupation: Accountant with her company, B.J.‘s Accounting Services

Background: Beckstein has worked in the Grand Valley as an accountant for more than 30 years. She was a two-term member of the council until she resigned in February 2011, two years before her term was up. At the time Beckstein was terminated from her job at Samuel Baldwin & Associates. The Mesa County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation as to whether money had been stolen from a company client. No charges were filed and Baldwin’s company reached a settlement with the client. On the council, Beckstein was best known as an advocate for small business. She has served on the Mesa County Republican Women’s board and the Mesa County Republicans board. Beckstein said she is running for council again because she was doing a lot of good in her role there. She implemented a system where citizens could sit in on the budget process, and she would like to continue “to establish an open line of communication.” “I’ve lived and worked here with my husband Joe for over 40 years,” she said. “I value the community and want to give back.”

 

Do you support the amount of money City Council is giving the Avalon Theater?

Beckstein said she doesn’t support the city’s spending on the Avalon as the area is still in an economic downturn. The city should address its needs, she said, not its wants. “Immediate needs to be addressed at the Avalon Theater and wants need to be deferred to a time when there can be more of a partnership between the DDA, businesses and the public,” she said.

 

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

Beckstein believes Brady Trucking should have the zoning it was originally allowed under the previous council and the company should be able to make improvements it desires to grow. “They have proven that they are a willing to compromise to be a positive contributor to the area,” she said.

 

Do you support the TABOR override ballot measure? Why or why not?

“The TABOR ballot issue is too vague in regards to what most voters should support, by not being job-specific, cost-specific and time-specific,” Beckstein said.

 

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Beckstein said the city should focus on providing services and economic stimulus will follow. “The city needs to get the infrastructure back on track, transportation, public safety, etc.,” she said. “We have the tools to encourage businesses to expand or locate in this community. We have the labor force and the means to offer the training ... and need to get that information out to the business community.”

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

Beckstein said she has questions on what a name change for the monument would mean. “I have reservation on changing the name of the Colorado National Monument until I fully understand the negative as well as the positive effects this will have on the community as a whole. ... How will this change affect the area just outside the monument, how will this affect the management of our natural resources?” she said.

 

At what level should the city fund Colorado Mesa University and why?

Offering the university funding is important but should be considered after the city’s needs have been met, Beckstein said. “It is vital that we have a strong relationship with Colorado Mesa University, it is a important part to a strong economic foundation in this community,” she said.

 

Name: Marty Chazen

Age: 60

Occupation: Retired in 2003 after working as a controller for Fox Sports Network. He worked as a controller for The Seagram Company and as a regional controller for 7-Up.

Background: Chazen traveled with his wife for two years in a motor home before calling Grand Junction home. After “trying on” a few different communities, the couple decided they liked Grand Junction best and moved here in 2006. Chazen said one of the reasons he wanted to relocate from southern California is because he liked the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR Amendment. He has served as treasurer for the Mesa County Republicans and serves on School District 51’s budget committee. He teaches an electronics class at Western Colorado Community College. “I’m not lucky enough to be born here but I see the same kind of things happen here that I saw in California,” he said. “I want to make sure this area retains it character.”

 

Do you support the amount of money City Council is giving the Avalon Theater?

Chazen said he is concerned that only a portion of the $16 million renovation project is being built with cash in hand. “It’s not the project, I agree with it,” he said. “It’s the financing. Before you start a project you should make sure the money is in the bank. What the city may end up with is a half-finished project.”

 

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

Chazen said he supports Brady Trucking’s property rights, and he thinks the public can have both industry and parks. “Fundamentally, why would you want to take commercial property out of production?” he said.

 

Do you support the TABOR override ballot measure? Why or why not?

Chazen said he thinks the ballot measure is worded poorly. “If you’re going to ask somebody to support it, you have to give them the specific amount, the time period and the project the money will be used for,” he said. “I think Referred Measure B fails on all three of those.”

 

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Chazen said he would be vocal about promoting Grand Junction as a friendly and good place for businesses. He said he’s not certain the Grand Junction Economic Partnership has been as successful as it could be in luring business to town. “I’m not adverse to spending to a little money to make a little money,” he said. “If I’m your city councilman, I’m an ambassador for this city no matter where I go.”

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

Chazen said he doesn’t want to see restrictions if the monument is redesignated a national park. He also didn’t think it was appropriate that the current council adopted a resolution supporting a name change. “They’re not listening to their constituents,” he said.

 

At what level should the city fund Colorado Mesa University and why?

Chazen said he agreed with the $1 million a year the city currently gives the university. “Unless there’s a total economic meltdown, I would continue support for this,” he said.

 

 

 

Name: Laura Luke

Age: 51

Occupation: Has worked as a stockbroker and as a financial advisor at Wells Fargo

Background: Luke grew up in Grand Junction and later graduated from Mesa State College. She has earned degrees in finance and management and a master’s degree in business administration. She currently is mayor pro-tem on the council after being appointed to the seat when Beckstein resigned. Luke said she decided to apply for council in 2011 after her brother died of brain cancer and she wanted to find a way to help other people. She touts herself as being sensitive to her constituents and encourages their input. Luke said she was the first person to sit through budget meetings and follow the process line by line. “Every penny that we can save is worth looking at,” she said. “It’s a very steep learning curve. Now I’ve got the understanding. I’m not doing this for any other reason than I love this place.”

 

Do you support the amount of money City Council is giving the Avalon Theater?

Funding $3 million for the Avalon was a “little over the top,” she said. “I wanted to hold a little more in reserves,” she said.

 

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

Luke said she is a big believer in supporting business. She said the city and other groups had the opportunity to purchase the property the trucking company now owns. “He is running a trucking business, not a toxic chemical plant,” she said.

 

Do you support the TABOR override ballot measure? Why or why not?

Luke said she felt the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce pressed for language that included adding 29 Road to I-70 improvements to the ballot. “We can do other projects first, like Horizon Drive and North Avenue, before doing 29 Road,” she said.

 

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Luke said she sees lots of opportunity for development in the area around Grand Junction Regional Airport.

“It’s a little diamond in the rough,” she said. “I’d love to see businesses out there that could bring in jobs.”

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

She believes a name change would be good for business.

 

At what level should the city fund Colorado Mesa University and why?

Luke said the university is an “invaluable asset” to the community, but she wants to see data on how much the university and its activities contribute to the sales tax base. She said she appreciates that the university attempts to keep tuition low.

LAURA LUKE

 


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