Name: Monica Plewe
Occupation: Full-time mom of five
1. How do you define freedom of information, and what three action items will you introduce to guarantee the peoples’ right to know?
Freedom of information is defined as allowing people to access information from public agencies. I will not need to introduce any new action items to guarantee people access to information. The Colorado Sunshine Law is in effect and when requested, information should be provided.
2. Describe the biggest mistake of your professional career. What lessons did you learn?
I would have finished my education when I was young. Earning an Associates of Arts Degree, and adopting a wonderful son, while already having a family was difficult, however this would not have slowed my progress toward my bachelors degree.
3. Describe the greatest accomplishment of your professional career. Who is your mentor and why?
My greatest accomplishment is partnering with my amazing husband for 23 years to raise 5 great kids.
4. What are your top priorities as a council member? Please explain your vision for the city’s future.
My top priorities as a council member will be:
a. to give back to my community;
b. to hold people accountable for the taxpayers’ money;
c. to work with the school district to tear down the old high school as promised;
d. to clean up or remove abandoned buildings; and
e. to help the city become more business and family friendly.
5. What is the best thing about Cortez, and what is the worst thing about Cortez?
The best thing about Cortez is our culture, diversity, and people. Our biggest challenge is the lack of quality, high paying jobs.
6. The city recently partnered with Osprey Packs to create jobs. Describe your blueprint to spur additional economic development?
Having a company like Osprey stay here is huge. We need to update infrastructure, especially in our downtown area. If we are financially stable enough to make a 3 million dollar purchase for a new city hall, we should be updating the size of water pipes so sprinklers can be installed in existing businesses, thus bringing our city up to date for multiple zoning uses.
7. In recent months, there’s been a debate about over the former Montezuma-Cortez High School building on Seventh 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 school district teaches our children “Safety, Respect & Responsibility”. I feel those ideals should be modeled from the very top. The the voters were told the old high school building would be demolished. I have been working hard on a plan to bring down the old high school building on 7th street. I was finally able to present that plan to the DAC (District Accountability Committee) and they unanimously passed it as a stipulation in our recommendation to the school board on the revised budget approval. The school district should let the voter’s decide whether or not to use the $1.87 million that is already set aside for a stadium to tear down the old high school (they don’t have enough money to build a stadium). The money should be used to partner with other entities to make that space something positive. Dumping money into the old H.S. building when we will never again have the money to demolish it seems irresponsible. Let the voter’s decide.
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?
I would have to agree with many in the community. Our city’s response to our first snow storm was less than stellar. I felt this last storm’s response was better. I don’t think new codes are necessary though. I am one for accountability. If we need more equipment, get more. If we need more people, get more. If it just needed to be done better, then thank you to all those community members that let the city know. Change won’t happen unless they hear from people.
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.
I was thrilled to hear the council is approving the outdoor dining and alcohol sales, even though I don’t personally drink alcohol. Our businesses need to be able to compete and serve their customers. I would like to see CDOT actually give access to our businesses instead of telling them no.
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.
Good communication with the County Commissioners.
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?
I would tell the residents of our Paradise Village neighborhood, that they have every right to be frustrated. The project should never have been started so late in the year. For some reason all of our city projects seem to run into time issues due to weather, most stemming from older infrastructure. Now, we just need to get it done so that those poor people aren’t knee deep in mud.
12. The city has passed marijuana legislation. Should those laws be rescinded or expanded? Please explain.
Marijuana legislation should not be rescinded or expanded, it needs to be scrutinized. We need to look at how this is affecting the students in our schools, hence the future of our community. The fact that pesticides are not being regulated seems ridiculous.
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.
No, I would not support a city ordinance setting a $15/hour minimum wage. That might be an interesting thought process to listen to though. We need better paying jobs, but a $15/hour minimum wage would be impossible for business, plus when people take pride in their work they can earn more as a result.
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?
Sure. The city council should promote water conservation. With all of the agriculture in our area it is only smart to use our resources wisely. I always believe information is powerful. The more informed our city residents are the more it will become a priority. We can start with our youngest constituents in their schools.
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?
Absolutely, we need a detox center. I was so disappointed that the recent hospital bond measure did not include a detox center. I would like to see a detox center over by the hospital. A detox center does not just help the intoxicated, it helps law enforcement, it helps keep our streets safer, and it allows all our great citizens that help shelters to actually aid those with children and real