1. Please introduce yourself. What is your name, where did you go to school, what do you do for a living and how long have you lived in Moab?
Don Cook: My name is Don Cook. I graduated from Orem High School in 1962. I started at BYU in the fall of 1962 and graduated from BYU in the spring of 1969 with a degree in finance. Upon graduating, I went to work for First Security Bank and in 1970 was transferred to Richfield/ Monroe, where I did the commercial lending and managed the Monroe branch. I was then transferred to Moab in 1970. My family and I have lived in Moab since moving here in 1970. First Security was merged into Wells Fargo. While working in Moab, I was involved in commercial and real estate lending and managed the Moab branch. While working at First Security and Wells Fargo, I was promoted to an area manager and oversaw the branches in Blanding, Monticello, Moab, Duchesne, Roosevelt and Vernal. I am now retired.
Rani Derasary: My name is Rani Derasary. I moved to Moab in 1999 from Oakland, California, where I grew up attending public schools, then earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis. Over the years I’ve worked in park visitor services, outdoor gear sales, revegetation, hydrologic field work and doing administrative, fundraising and program work for various nonprofit organizations. I currently do administrative work for artist Serena Supplee.
Kelly Mike Green: My name is Kelly Mike Green and I am running for Moab City Council. I am a uranium boom baby and was born in Moab. For those not “native,” don’t worry; it is my opinion that if you drink from Matrimony Springs, this qualifies you as an instant local. We have a lot of interesting folks in this little valley and may not always agree on how things ought to be done, but in the end I figure we all want the same thing: a place to call home. That is why I chose to raise my family here and why I am optimistic about Moab’s future. My story is typical of the people who have grown up around here. I guided Jeep and river tours back in the 60s, 70s and early 80s. I worked odd jobs, did construction as a laborer, and as a welder’s helper when the mill north of town was being rebuilt. I have working class roots and know what it means to work hard in a service-related economy. Eventually I decided on a career in the public sector. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Utah State University in 1985, and in 1998 obtained a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Utah.
Kalen Jones: I’m Kalen Jones, and I have chosen to make Moab home for the past 24 years. I grew up and went to college in California. I have owned and operated With Gaia Design, a Moab architecture, planning and development firm for 12 years. There, I use my technical and creative skills to meet clients’ needs within the constraints of the budget and building codes. I would bring the same comprehensive and detailed approach to bear on making the city a better place to live.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: My name is Tawny Knuteson Boyd. I was pretty much raised on the Wasatch Front, although I went to five grade schools and two junior high schools; I was always the new kid. I graduated from Cottonwood High School and the College of Hard Knocks. I work as the clerk for the Grand County Road Department and I love my job and my co-workers. I have lived in Moab for 12 years.
M. Bryon Walston: My name is M. Bryon Walston. I have lived in Moab since 1962. Moab has changed in these 53 years. I have five great sons and one wonderful daughter. I have been married 38 years to my wife Nita. I graduated from Brigham Young University in 1977 with a degree in Pre-medical Science and a minor in Chemistry and Spanish. I worked for United Parcel Service from 1979 to 2007, retiring and obtaining my real estate license in 2008 and my broker’s license in 2015. I currently own Moab Premier Properties, a real estate company. I work as a tour guide diving Hummer tours for Moab Adventure Center.
Christine “Cricket” White-Green: My name is Christine “Cricket” White-Green. I am a 1978 graduate of Grand County High School and a lifelong resident of Moab. I grew up on White Ranch, now known as Red Cliffs Lodge, and my dad was my boss for my first 18 years, where I learned to work hard for the “brand” as the company is a reflection of your work. I was a waitress for 14 years before I changed careers, becoming a title agent for 21 years; I was recently let go for economic reasons.
2. Describe any previous public service or community involvement.
Don Cook: I served on the hospital board here in Moab for eight years. I was chairman for most of those years. I was involved in the Moab Rotary Club for all of the years I worked here in Moab and helped with many service projects.
Rani Derasary: Since high school, I’ve tried to make a difference in my community. In California, I learned how local, national and international parties can partner to help communities have a greater voice in how their water resources are allocated and managed. Locally, I served on the WabiSabi board from 2008 to 2013, was program director of Canyonlands Community Recycling (CCR) from 2010 to 2012, and have volunteered at Arches National Park, Grand County Hospice, Living Rivers and Splore. At CCR, I started bi-annual electronic waste collections, and partnered with Solutions of Moab and the U.S. Postal Service to expand paper recycling. WabiSabi widened my understanding of the impressive number and variety of groups in Moab that provide vital and enriching services, and the generosity of Moab’s businesses and residents in making this work possible. Running for Moab City Council is my first pursuit of public office.
Kelly Mike Green: I was employed as a social worker for the State of Utah for 30 years and recently retired. Helping others has been a big part of my life and using practical problem solving approaches will in my opinion make me an effective Moab City Council member.
Kalen Jones: I am in my sixth year on the Grand County Planning Commission. In this role I have learned to listen to, and understand, many different viewpoints. I served as chair during the General Plan revision, during which I ensured that the process was even-handed, and that the commission considered every comment we received. I have been on the Winter Search and Rescue team for 20 years, and served as an officer in Moab Toastmasters for two.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: I am currently on the Grand County Historical Preservation Board. I served as a Seekhaven board trustee for five years.
M. Bryon Walston: I served on the Grand County Recreation Board for one term, and I served four terms on the Grand County School Board for 16 years. I served on the Board of Trustees of the Utah Activities Association for one three-year term. I have served in many jobs and capacities within my church for 40-plus years. I have served in the Boy Scouts of America in many assignments for many years and currently serve as the Eagle Project councilor.
Cricket White-Green: My husband Kent and I were were members of the Canyonlands PRCA Rodeo Committee for nine years before retiring. I have for many years looked forward to assisting with a local favorite, the St. Patrick’s Day Dinner at St. Francis Episcopal Church. For many years, I was involved with my children’s classes, helping when needed at their schools from being a room-mother in Kindergarten all the way through junior prom and senior graduation breakfast.
3. What are your main concerns regarding Moab’s future?
Don Cook: The economic and social stability of the community. There are also issues that will need to be addressed with the future growth of the area.
Rani Derasary: My concerns include: planning for Moab’s long-term water supply needs; acquiring a new sewer treatment plant after clarifying who will pay for it and how; affordable housing; and working collectively to address the stresses increased visitation is placing on our neighborhoods.
Kelly Mike Green: I understand the complexities of managing and developing a budget and feel strongly that fiscal responsibility and accountability will always be my first priority. Moab is facing many challenges because of the success we are having in bringing people here to enjoy our natural wonders. We must find ways of paying for our infrastructure so that a few thousand people are not having to bear the brunt of the cost. I have a few ideas about this and want to keep our taxes as low as possible.
Kalen Jones: I see the community being undermined by the disparity between the cost of living and wages. In the short term, I believe that stable and well-paid new jobs will come predominately from the growing ranks of businesses and individuals that are able to locate anywhere with the freedom provided by modern communications. And which choose Moab because of the scenery and recreation. To stay here, they need a safe environment, excellent schools and accessible medical services. I will work with the city departments to ensure we have those.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: My concerns regarding Moab’s future run a wide range of items. These are in no particular order. We as a community need to be concerned that our water and our aquifer are kept clean and we don’t overtax that resource, a most precious one in our desert. We need to make sure when we develop and build and expand that we do it responsibly and thoughtfully. We live in a glorious and spectacular part of the world; it will take thoughtfulness and wisdom to make sure we keep it that way. I recently spent the weekend in a resort town in northern Utah, and I don’t mean in any way to be critical or speak badly of the decisions they have made, but it was simply too much, too many, too busy, too loud for the space that was there. I wouldn’t think any of us would like to see that kind of unfettered development in the next 50 years.
M. Bryon Walston: Growth is the major challenge that we have in this community. With USU coming and the increase in visitation, we need to focus on planning ahead and building infrastructure to handle the growth and services for all citizens of or city for the health and welfare of our community.
Cricket White-Green: Moab’s lack of yearly jobs that pay enough to support a family. And I am also concerned about the effect of the “Greater Canyonlands” proposal on both Moab’s jobs and its effect on tourism.
4. What steps do you think the city should take to reduce UTV noise and traffic in Moab’s residential neighborhoods?
Don Cook: The town had an opportunity some 20 years ago to put a bypass road on the west side of town. Downtown merchants were afraid they would lose business and opposed a bypass. With the more recent residential development on the west side of town, we have now lost that opportunity. Traffic and other related problems will only increase in the coming years. There is a so-called truck route on 5th West. We need to make that more user-friendly and encourage trucks and travelers who do not wish to stop in Moab to use that route.
Rani Derasary: I’m confident we can work together as a community to resolve this in a manner allowing tour operators to offer year-round jobs and a positive visitor experience, while protecting the solitude residents value and deserve. The city should start with input from the committee of outfitters, law enforcement and residents exploring this issue, including the many suggestions of citizens. A small percentage of vehicle users are apparently scofflaws, making a bad name for an otherwise responsible user group. They’re not alone in this; it happens with bikers, Jeepers, dog owners, etc. This is unfortunate, but thankfully, responsible users have stepped up to collaborate with the rest of the community to keep Moab a good place to live.
Kelly Mike Green: During Memorial Day weekend, we experienced a lot of increased traffic and noise. I attended several meetings regarding the ATV and UTV concerns. A consensus by those present felt that enforcing existing laws so that unregistered machines or speeders would be held accountable would be the best approach. I support this.
Kalen Jones: It is not just residential neighborhoods that are impacted by UTVs, nor do only UTVs make excessive noise. Roosters are outlawed in Moab because of their noise. The city should enact a noise ordinance to equitably limit the noise impact of all vehicles. Speed limits should be enforced with enough consistency that visitors know you just don’t speed in Moab. New overnight lodging of any kind should not be permitted in residential zones. The city should participate in BLM event permitting processes to ensure that community impacts are adequately managed.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: As far as the noise of ATVs and UTVs goes, first and foremost, enforcing existing laws and limits. I know that puts a lot on our local law enforcement, but that is a part of the job they do. We can’t be overly critical of them because they will not get every single infraction or violation, but I’m confident they will do their best. Education is another piece of the pie; there are user-friendly ways to educate our visitors as to what is expected of them when they visit here. It can’t be solely the responsibility of the promoters and the rental and guide services; some people don’t come in contact with them at all. It has to come from the entire community. We can’t legislate and rule and regulate every single situation and person; we certainly can’t do so in regard to personal responsibility – there will always be people who behave badly. We have to expect that and deal with it as it happens, not lump every person who rides an ATV or UTV as someone who behaves badly. It just isn’t so – there are more responsible riders than not. As technology progresses, the manufacturers will develop the machines to be quieter and more efficient. It happened with dirt bikes and snowmobiles. This is a fairly new method of recreation; sometimes we just need the patience to allow progress to happen.
M. Bryon Walston: We need to obey the laws of the land. We need not to single out one group or the other. But we need to find ways to alleviate the problems we are having with the UTVs and noise. We need to work with them and their groups to create a better solution for everybody and not be heavy handed but be fair.
Cricket White-Green: Enforce the existing laws. I think that signs should be posted at the entrance of Moab saying something to the effect that UTVs are welcome, but street-legal vehicles are required, and the laws are strictly enforced.
5. How can the city council best address Moab’s shortage of affordable housing and workforce housing?
Don Cook: Affordable housing will always be a problem, particularly for those who come to Moab for seasonal employment. I have grandchildren who have come to Moab to work and then leave in the fall to go back to school. Fortunately, they have been able to stay with family. Otherwise, housing costs would have prevented them from coming here to work. There needs to be some research done as to what other communities with similar problems have done. It would also be helpful if employers would form a task force to help find housing for their employees.
Rani Derasary: This is a complex issue with no magical solution. The city has been tackling housing on multiple fronts: making zoning changes allowing residential use in commercially zoned areas; considering greater density and micro-units; talking to communities facing similar challenges; and discussing deed restrictions and linkage fees. The Moab City Council needs to continue looking for a creative solutions (e.g., tax credits for affordable housing developers), protect existing residential zones, and collaborate with housing advocates to address the gap between local wages and housing/ land prices that is preventing workers – from seasonals to year-round residents like teachers and police officers – from even affording rent in Moab.
Kelly Mike Green: We have an affordable housing problem. I believe we have too much governmental red tape, which has created this crisis. With a little thoughtful and creative planning, such as perhaps having smaller lots and homes, we may be able to have places that people can actually afford.
Kalen Jones: The city council can continue to actively participate in the Affordable Housing Task Force, which integrates the viewpoints and expertise from multiple government and private interests to craft solutions that span the city/county boundary. The high cost of land remains an obstacle to affordability. A tension exists between the desire to retain the character of Moab’s existing neighborhoods, and the fact that increased housing density can reduce land and infrastructure costs. I think that increased density could be mitigated through further reduced building height limits; and the reclamation of Moab’s wider streets either as boulevard medians, or expansion of lots if they are dedicated to affordable housing.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: Affordable housing is certainly an issue and minds greater than mine have been working on it for years. The USDA has a good rural housing program that takes some work to get qualified for, but it’s not impossible. The self-help housing is also a good program: It helps people feel invested and take ownership of their homes. I know it’s been abused in the past, but I think the requirements have tightened up a bit. The local real estate developers and builders seem to understand this and do their best to build some affordable homes. We have good local programs, the straw-bale homes, come to mind, that are doing good things one home at a time. I know, in my area some very nice starter homes have been built recently. I’m not sure I have a really good answer to this question; it’s complex and can’t be solved overnight. I would hope that if elected I would have benefit of those with more experience and more education in this area. Ask me in a year or two – I might have a better answer.
M. Bryon Walston: We have a shortage of all types of housing in Moab. We need to work with the developers – not against them. If need be, we need to modify some of the city’s codes to help the housing crisis. If you build it they will come. Most developers that I know would readily help with employee housing if it was fair.
Cricket White-Green: I have worked with developers, Moab City and Grand County as a title agent. It is my belief that if we could streamline the subdivision process and speed it up, we could get more developers interested in investing in Moab, if it could be done in a more timely manner.
6. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Don Cook: I don’t know.
Rani Dersary: My father is from India; my mother is from the Netherlands. They met on a bus in Texas.
Kelly Mike Green: I wrote a book of fiction about Moab and the surrounding area.
Kalen Jones: The volume of audiobook mysteries I listen to as I do chores and drive.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: I’m pretty honest and straightforward; what you see is what you get. I guess people don’t know I am a writer. It’s a lot cheaper than therapy. I simply write to what speaks to my heart and soul, I’m not an Ed Abbey or Hunter S. Thompson or Eleanor Roosevelt, but I love words and crafting something that tells a story.
M. Bryon Walston: I am an open book. No secrets. I am fluent in Spanish.
Cricket White-Green: My given name! I have gone by Cricket my entire life and unless you’re a telemarketer, an immediate family member or a close childhood friend who heard my mother when I was in trouble, you have no idea that Christine Essie is my given name.
7. What do you do for fun?
Don Cook: I love the outdoors and particularly the La Sal Mountains in the summertime.
Rani Derasary: Hike, run rivers, cook with friends, and make bizarre art only a mother could love.
Kelly Mike Green: I like exploring and listening to humorous but true stories about the locals who live here. I would like your vote and support this coming election. Thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kalen Jones: I like to garden, cook, hike, bike, rock climb and relax outside in Moab’s wonderful warm summer evenings.
Tawny Knuteson Boyd: “I cook, I write, I read, I travel and I’m hungry for more.” — Anthony Bourdain. I love to do things I have never done before … And I shop!
M. Bryon Walston: I love the outdoors and enjoy hunting and fishing and mostly just being with my family making good memories. I am building a cabin and like to dabble in woodworking. Life is great.
Cricket White-Green: I love to enjoy Moab’s backyard, be it the La Sals, the mesas or the roads in the backcountry. I never get tired of the beauty that is Moab and it’s best spent with family! I also enjoy irrigating my yard; it is so peaceful to have my feet in the water while listening to it flow. I think it takes me back to the days on the family ranch. Oh, and I am crazy about Denver Broncos football.
Editor’s note: The Moab Sun News invited candidates for the Moab City Council to answer a series of questions about themselves and issues that affect Moab. This voter guide profiles seven candidates who are running for three open, at-large seats on the city council in this year’s Aug. 11 primary election. Incumbent city council member Doug McElhaney and Wayne Hoskisson have officially withdrawn from the race, according to Moab City Recorder Rachel Stenta. Current Moab City Council members Kirstin Peterson and Gregg Stucki, whose terms expire in December, are not seeking re-election.
Unlike Grand County, which switched to mail-in voting in 2014, the City of Moab is continuing to hold in-person voting on Election Day. For this year’s primary election, in-person voting will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 11, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at three polling locations: the Moab City Center, the Grand Center and the First Baptist Church. Early voting by absentee ballot will be available from Tuesday, July 28, through Thursday, Aug. 6. To register to vote, or to find your polling place, go to vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/index. You can also visit the city’s official election page at moabcity.state.ut.us/index.aspx?NID=236, or call the Moab City Recorder’s Office at 435-259-2683 for more information.