Editor's Note: This survey was sent to each candidate for City Council and will run below, unedited, as submitted by the candidate. Profiles derived from these surveys can also be found in the Daily Sentinel print edition and online.
Please give us a short description of your background and experience.
I have lived in Mesa County since 1964. I have been in the construction business as a construction worker, and later foreman and project superintendent in Mesa County since 1971. Some of the notable projects I have helped build include the postal annex, Ratekin Tower, Oxbow, Oxbow West and Lakeside Apartments. For decades, I have navigated all aspects of our City and County regulatory environment which govern the construction industry. I have raised 5 children (2 adopted). I helped raise 16 grandchildren. As a single father, I have great experience in doing more with less, staying on budget with money and time. I have volunteered my time teaching survival skills with School District 51 students and have been a volunteer with Mesa County Search and Rescue for approximately 25 years. After owning roughly 900 acres in Glade Park, and managing thousands of additional acres (ranching, outfitting and agriculture), I was injured in a work explosion and for a time considered myself homeless. I then went on to build my current home with Habitat for Humanity, and then stayed on and volunteered another 1,500 hours helping neighbors build their own American Dream. I gave another 600 hours volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. In the 1990’s, I also became involved as an advocate for public land access. After watching ranchers illegally bar access from public lands by erecting illegal gates and signage, I fought and contributed to victories restoring or protecting public access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in Mesa and Garfield Counties.
Briefly explain why you are running for City Council.
I am very concerned by the restrictive obstacles threatening our local small businesses. I have watched excessive restrictions chase away potential new businesses and jobs. I have felt the frustration of wanting to start a small business and needing a friend in the city to see me through it. Cultivating a friendly environment for business is a major priority for me. I am running to serve the people of Grand Junction.
What should the next Council do to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our community has gone through a worldwide pandemic. We have all had to do more with less and look for innovative ways to move forward. As your next City Council member, I will work hard and work smart to facilitate doing more with less. So that we can all get through this challenging season together, I will help City Council in our role as responsible and good stewards of public funds. I will advocate for policies and procedures that seek to allow small business to remain open while seeking to implement the CDC recommendations to minimize exposure in a common sense manner supported by science.
Other than the pandemic and the economy, what is the most pressing issue facing Grand Junction, and how would you address it?
Besides the pandemic and the economy, I would say an essential issue facing Grand Junction is affordable housing. I would address this issue by advocating for a more streamlined and efficient building process for our community to build more homes and businesses in our valley.
Is there a decision the City Council made in the last year that you disagree with and why?
Although I recognize the positive elements of the Grand Junction Comprehensive Plan which was passed this last year, I also see some language that could lead to government overreach and excessive encroachment on private property rights. In today’s economic climate, where some businesses are struggling to survive, enforcement of some aspects of the Comprehensive Plan could force unfunded mandates upon privately owned properties adjacent to City properties. Though these expenses might seem to trivial to some, we must consider how our mandates might hurt some businesses and families already on the brink.
Given voter approval, what types of marijuana licenses (retail, cultivation, products manufacturing), if any, should be allowed in the city and why?
The current ballot measure as written is vague. I would prefer that all revenue be expressly allocated to increase public safety instead of allocation into the non-specific general fund. Public Safety will be most impacted and should receive that revenue. Allocating funds towards drug education and law enforcement will prevent crime and other problems that have arisen in other cities where marijuana is widely sold. To minimize our children’s exposure, I would advocate for common sense parameters.
Do you support the city purchasing abandoned properties to remove blight and why?
I support removing red tape and roadblocks to private sector development of abandoned properties. We need to work with our community members to make their vision a reality. When this occurs, we all get a better finished product with less taxpayer expense.
There are several projects the next City Council will likely decide on. Please answer yes or no on whether you currently support or oppose these projects:
Building a Community Center at Lincoln Park: (yes/no)
(Voters to decide on a ballot measure.) I support a ballot question to ask the voters if they wish to invest in this project. As City Council member, I will work hard to facilitate private business growth, expansion and safety. I will consider all facets of a proposal to build a Community Center. If passed, I will lend my knowledge and decades-long experience of building Grand Junction to an expansion of Lincoln Park.
Purchasing the Glacier Ice Arena: (yes/no)
(No.) I want the best for our children and for Grand Junction. The Glacier Ice Arena provides additional family activities, a year-round sport for our young kids, and a positive place for our youth. It is a great business for our community. I think it should stay a private business to meet the needs of its customers better with flexibility, responsiveness, and innovation.
Renovating the Orchard Mesa Pool: (yes/no)
(Yes.) Orchard Mesa is currently in care of the Grand Junction City Parks and Recreation. We should care for and update the facilities under our management.
Supporting the plaza at Las Colonias with public funding: (yes/no)
(No.) I support the City of Grand Junction creating public parks and would look for ways for business to operate without public funding associated with the Las Colonias
Allowing half the parking lot on the corner of 5th Street and Colorado Avenue to be converted into a plaza space: (yes/no)
(No.) I am concerned that the City of Grand Junction is spreading itself too thin with additional public plazas. I will take stock of the areas we are already committed to and ensure we are successfully funding and managing those projects, such as Lincoln Park and the Orchard Mesa Pool, before committing to additional plaza spaces.