Age : 67
Occupation: Retired Electrician Party
1. How do you define freedom of information, and what three action items would you introduce to guarantee the peoples’ right to know?
The Freedom of Information Act gives the citizens the right to access information from the federal government. I have not had any occasion to use the freedom of information law and am not aware, at this time, of a need to take any action to guarantee the people’s right to know. If I become aware of something that is infringing on the people’s right to know I will look for action items to introduce in order to fix the problem.
2. Describe the biggest mistake of your professional career. What lessons did you learn?
When I first became a foreman I was so concerned with getting the job done, that I overlooked the needs of the people on my crew. Then I learned that if I focused on taking care of the people on my crew and made sure they had everything they needed to be successful, I could facilitate a positive work environment and the job would get done on time and under budget.
3. Describe the greatest accomplishment of your professional career. Who is your mentor and why?
My greatest accomplishment was when the people I promoted to be foreman succeeded. Watching someone I invest in thrive is far more rewarding than admiring an inanimate personal accomplishment. Chuck Carse was my supervisor and he taught me that people skills were much more valuable than trade skills. He was absolutely right that the project would be more successful if I focused on the team. The surprise came when I realized that it also made the success infinitely more fulfilling.
4. What are your top priorities as a council member? Please explain your vision for the city’s future.
I want to see Cortez prosper and for the city government to support and promote the businesses and organizations that are doing so much to make this City great. The collection of organizations we currently have is impressively diverse given our size; authentic Thai food, sushi, live theater, ballroom dance parties, a competitive cyclery shop, an international outdoor pack designer/manufacturer, just to name a few. I also want to see Cortez become a destination for new businesses, tourists, families, and talent, so that we can provide an economy that supports our community.
5. What is the best thing about Cortez, and what is the worst thing about Cortez?
The best thing about Cortez is the location, location, location. We are surrounded by the most beautiful country in the world. The worst thing about Cortez is the average income and limited job opportunity.
6. The city recently partnered with Osprey Packs to create jobs. Describe your blueprint to spur additional economic development?
I don’t believe we can use a blueprint to spur additional economic development, each organization has unique needs. We should be looking at each business with a creative approach to find ways to support them. We should also be looking for opportunities to help new business locate here and finding ways to promote them.
7. In recent months, there’s been a debate about over the former MontezumaCortez High School building on 7th Street. What would you suggest to remedy the issue? And what would you do to bridge efforts with other government/agencies to reduce blight and beautify city corridors?
The board of education made an agreement to solve this issue by demolishing the buildings. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the state environmental requirements for asbestos removal were amended. The new procedure for removing asbestos costs upwards of 20x the original budget. I’m open to helping find the most reasonable solution as long as they don’t just let it rot.
8. Many in the community have been upset with the city’s response in clearing snow from the roadways. What updates to the city code, if any, should be made to alleviate future grumblings?
Many things came together to make this the perfect storm to cause people to complain about the job the city was doing. I think that the main cause of frustration was not knowing all that the city crews were up against and not having a way to check their progress. We need to improve the method that we use to communicate with citizens. It would be great if we could make use of the instant communication that social media provides to update citizens on the implemented process, progress being made, and to address complaints.
9. The city appears likely to approve outdoor dining and alcohol sales. What additional measures should the city examine to boost and support downtown business owners?
The outdoor dining and alcohol sales is a positive step towards improving the downtown atmosphere for shopping and dining. The Kaufman Foundation published a Research Series on Metro, City, and Regional Entrepreneurship in March of 2015. This document outlines some new approaches that are working across the nation. It warns that financial support has proven ineffective and instead, highly recommends providing events and forums that facilitate connections with businesses that are showing proven success. I believe that creating a community where entrepreneurs can seek the personal connection and advice of other entrepreneurs makes a notable difference in the success of new businesses. For example, The Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce hosts the Young Professionals Group. This is a great start, yet I notice that their Facebook page isn’t showing any activity in over a year. I would like to find out what a group like this needs to be more successful, (ie. promotion, meeting space). The Young Professionals of Durango have huge participation and is making a big difference. What can we learn from them? I would also advise that people over 40 need support from peers as well, so I would like to focus on ways to get these people together.
10. The governor recently declared the Paths to Mesa Verde project a top priority for 2016. What would you do to ensure that trail way becomes a reality this year?
I am excited about this project, and will seek opportunities to support the progress. Biking is very popular and this area offers some of the best trails around. Phil’s world is known nationwide thanks a lot to The Twelve Hours of Mesa Verde fund raising event we have in the spring. It brings thousands of people to Cortez. The bike path will fit right in, not all will use it but all of us will benefit from having it.
11. The Paradise Village infrastructure improvement project is behind schedule. How would you ease tensions among the frustrated residents that live in that area, and what financial steps should be taken now to ensure future infrastructure improvements?
We must budget and plan on maintaining our infrastructure. It must be communicated that the longer we wait the more it will drive up costs and require bigger the repairs.
12. The city has passed marijuana legislation. Should those laws be rescinded or expanded? Please explain.
The sale of alcohol is legal but we place many controls on the sales and taxes on it. We need to do the same with marijuana sales. If the sale of marijuana causes problems that can be avoided with expanded laws then we should make those adjustments.
13. Recent studies have indicated that affordable housing coupled with a living wage are needed in Cortez. Would you support a city ordinance setting a $15/hour minimum wage? If not, list other proposals to address the issue.
I do not believe that a $15/hour minimum wage will provide affordable housing and if it did wouldn’t a $50/hour minimum wage provide even more affordable housing? Attract more successful businesses into the area in order to lower unemployment and increase the average wage.
14. Water rights are king in the west. Should the city council take an active role to promote conservation, and what proposals would you submit to help promote water conservation?
We have ways to promote conservation of water. When I over water my grass my water bill goes up.
15. Law enforcement and mental health advocates argue that a detox center is needed. Do you support that initiative? What would you do to make it a reality?
When I was seeking signatures to get on the ballot a friend, from law enforcement, told me that if he ran for city council that is what his platform would be. That was the first conversation I have had on the subject. I would like to investigate further on the pros and cons.