Profile: Candidates for Grand Junction city council at-large seat

Bill Pitts



Rick Brainard



Editor’s Note: The Daily Sentinel is profiling each of the 10 candidates running for four 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, candidates for the at-large seat are profiled. Candidates for districts D, E and A were profiled Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Name: Bill Pitts

Age: 78

Occupation: Owner of The Right Realty Company; also has created several corporations in Grand Junction

Background: Currently the mayor and a private pilot, Pitts started nine corporations over a 48-year span and sold all of them. Some of the businesses he started in Grand Junction include Superior Alarm and Junction West RV Park, and he created an evaporative cooler diffuser cover. He currently works in real estate and is the education chairman and president of the National Council of Real Estate Exchangers. Pitts said he is running because he is concerned with the administration at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, and he feels its policies are responsible for an exodus of general aviation tenants there. “We need a redefinition of where it’s headed,” he said. “We’re hoping to better our relationship with the airport. We’ve got a serious management problem.”

 

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

Pitts said he agrees with $3 million the city has dedicated to the Avalon. He thinks it’s necessary to spend the money to get a good product. “You got to stick your nose out,” he said. “You got to spend some money if you’re going to make some money.”

 

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

Pitts said he would leave that issue to the voters.

 

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

Pitts said he agrees with the measure. “We’ve got a lot of projects on the table that depend on how TABOR works out,” he said. “Our objective is to complete what the citizens have asked for.”

 

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Pitts thinks the city can help development by continuing in its role to create infrastructure. “The citizens really tell the City Council what to do,” he said.

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

He agrees with a name change. “All they are changing is the name,” he said. “Everything is the same.”

 

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

Pitts said he supports current funding levels for the university. His children and now grandchildren attend the school.

 

Name: Rick Brainard

Age: 51

Occupation: vice president of business development at West Star Aviation

Background: Brainard said he could live anywhere in the world, but he likes life in Grand Junction best. The Michigan native has lived here for the past eight years. Brainard serves on boards for both the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and Community Hospital Foundation. He formerly served on the board of Grand Junction Economic Partnership. Brainard said he is running for the council because he wants to help foster a business-friendly atmosphere in Grand Junction, something that he doesn’t see city councilors doing. “I think our current City Council is a little bit self-serving,” he said. “They’re just trying to be all things to all people.”

 

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

Brainard said he supports funding for the arts, but he believes councilors moved too quickly on dedicating funds to the Avalon’s renovation. “I think the city needs a larger plan that encompasses all of the arts and not just fund one venue,” he said. “Is the Avalon the venue I would choose for performing arts? Likely not. I would love to see an amphitheater or a venue like the Bellco Theater in Denver. But whatever we end up with should be what suits the needs of our community and is part of a well thought-out plan. And the plan should have a funding mechanism in place to carry out the long-term vision.”

 

What do you think about the Brady Trucking ballot measure?

“I believe Brady and Los Colonias can coexist just fine,” Brainard said. “Brady has earned the right based on their willingness to do the right thing to coexist.”

 

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

“I do not support TABOR as presented. While TABOR can be a great tool, in this case the boundaries are way too poorly defined for me to support it,” he said.

 

What should the city be doing to stimulate economic development?

Brainard thinks it’s the city’s role to attract businesses. He said he has 30 years of experience in economic development. “How can we keep your business? How many more West Stars are out there? I want to invite business in,” he said.

 

Should Colorado National Monument become a national park?

“I have a hard time not wanting to show that off as a national park,” he said. Brainard said he sees a name change as another economic engine for the area.

 

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

Brainard said he believes Colorado Mesa University is one of the components that create a healthy economy in Grand Junction. “People get harsh about the city and the county giving them money but we won’t see it thrive without it,” he said. “I’ve got no complaints with what they’ve got going on.”


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