Cricket White-Green

1. Please introduce yourself.

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 (Rah-nee Der-us-uh-ree). I moved to Moab in 1999 from Oakland, California, where I grew up attending public schools, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California. Since graduating, 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 we do not always agree on how things ought to be done, but in the end I figure we all want the same thing: a great place to call home and that is why I chose to return back to Moab to raise my family here.

Kalen Jones: I have lived in Moab with my wife, Susie, for 24 years. We choose to live in Moab because of its wonderful people, clean environment, and amazing recreation. 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. In my work, I use my technical and creative skills to meet clients’ needs within the constraints of the budget, and building and local codes. I would bring the same comprehensive and detailed approach to bear on making the city a better place to live.

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.

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 and working on land and water searches, and examinations specializing in State of Utah water conveyance forms. I was encouraged to continue my work in regards to water rights by those in the business of water, so I do that part time and help my husband of 37 years, Kent, in a small business venture. I am loving being able to work with him every day!

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: I’ve always 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 (2008-2013), was program director of Canyonlands Community Recycling (CCR) (2010-2012), and have volunteered with Arches National Park, Grand County Hospice and Splore. At CCR, I started twice-annual electronic waste collections, and partnered with Solutions of Moab and the Postal Service to expand paper recycling. WabiSabi widened my understanding of the impressive 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. I’ve built my campaign around citizen concerns, based on talking to residents, business owners and city staff. I have attended every city council meeting since becoming a candidate June 8, plus public meetings addressing issues affecting both the city and county. I believe the time I’ve invested has made me a more knowledgeable and prepared candidate.

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 make me an effective Moab City Council member. I have also served the community volunteering through my church with various charitable activities, and when I was younger, worked as a scout leader.

Kalen Jones: I am in my sixth year on the 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.

Christine “Cricket” White-Green: Most importantly, 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. That is my most rewarding volunteer experience! My husband Kent and I 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, and have enjoyed working with St. Francis for more than 20 years now.

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; closing the gap between our wages and housing prices; balancing the needs of residents and visitors; protecting air and water resources; and maintaining neighborhood character.

Kelly Mike Green: Protecting the hard-earned tax dollars of our citizens and accountability to our citizens is my first priority. We must work hard to keep taxes on our citizens as low as possible. There are always more “needs” than tax dollars, so I believe the top priority of any city official must be to evaluate needs vs wants and prioritize the use of tax dollars. I understand the complexities of managing and developing a budget from my work in the public sector and can use that experience to meet the challenges Moab currently faces.

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. These businesses choose Moab because of the scenery, recreation and community. 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 these essentials.

Tawny Knuteson-Boyd: My concerns regarding Moab’s future run a wide range of items. 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.

Christine “Cricket” White-Green: Infrastructure, affordable housing and economic development are all major concerns. We have deteriorating infrastructure needs that are core city functions that we must address without burdening taxpayers further. We need to find a ways to incentivize developers and investors to invest in affordable housing without government mandates. We also need to encourage business growth that will be year round and provide better paying jobs while continuing to support our robust tourist industry. I am also concerned about the effect the “Greater Canyonlands” proposal will have on Moab’s jobs, tourism and the remaining land available for visitors to explore. The reality is that the city can do very little to change what will happen on a federal level but I think it is a major concern and we need to explore what it will mean for Moab and be prepared for the consequences if this proposal becomes reality.

4. What are your top priorities as a candidate?

Don Cook: My top priorities are the economy and the quality of family life available in Moab. We need to always be moving forward. Growth and progress are the life’s blood of a community. Moab was fortunate in that tourism came to Moab in a big way. It has continued to grow and there is an abundance of jobs available. The problem is that too many of those jobs don’t pay enough to raise a family on and the quality of life, schools and neighborhoods are being affected. There is likewise a shortage of affordable housing. What can we do about this? First, we don’t want to stop the growth of tourism. What we do want to do is ensure that this industry stay as viable as it now is. We also need to work together as a community to help bring in other types of viable industries and increase the number of better paying jobs. We need to be progressive, but wise and not wild in the direction we go. I don’t feel that one person will have all the answers. My goal is to work with the community and help bring about solid, wise growth so we have a good place to bring up families and keep them here rather than have to send them somewhere else.

Rani Derasary: 1) Closing the gap between wages and housing prices. 2) Building infrastructure (sewer, water, roads) for the long term. 3) Balancing the needs of residents and visitors.

Kelly Mike Green: Protecting the hard-earned tax dollars of our citizens and accountability to our citizens is my first priority. We must work hard to keep taxes on our citizens as low as possible. There are always more “needs” than tax dollars, so I believe the top priority of any city official must be to evaluate needs vs wants and prioritize the use of tax dollars. I understand the complexities of managing and developing a budget from my work in the public sector and can use that experience to meet the challenges Moab currently faces.

Kalen Jones: Providing essential services (e.g. road, water, police) is the basic purpose of the city. I will work with staff and my fellow councilors to develop a cost-effective budget to achieve that end. I will empower and guide the planning department and commission to complete the general plan revision, reduce code barriers to attainable housing, and proactively plan for Moab’s future. The much-anticipated new USU campus and neighboring housing will require city cooperation to maximize its potential; I will be an informed participant in that process.

Tawny Knuteson-Boyd: My top priorities as a candidate are getting the wastewater treatment plant completed and on line and affordable/ attainable housing for our citizens. If our residents don’t have homes to create their lives in, our town becomes a pretty dismal place. If you move to Moab and can afford a multimillion dollar home, if you can’t flush any one of the four or five toilets, again, it’s a pretty dismal place.

Christine “Cricket” White-Green: My top priorities are keeping taxes low for our citizens, reducing the red-tape imposed on our businesses, encouraging affordable housing and increasing the economic stability of Moab.

5. What steps do you think the city should take to reduce UTV noise and traffic in Moab’s residential neighborhoods?

Don Cook: The noise ordinances need to be enforced, but no particular vehicle type should be singled out for enforcement. 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: The city launched a committee made up of outfitters, law enforcement and citizens to address these issues after the associated June 9 public meeting. On June 9, there seemed to be general consensus that a few scofflaws are making a bad name for an otherwise responsible user group, and that we’d like to resolve this in a manner that allows tour operators to offer year-round jobs and a positive visitor experience, while retaining the safe streets and solitude residents value and deserve. The city needs to present a progress report and let people know how their suggestions are being incorporated, including: increased enforcement and education; lower speed limits; revisiting the city’s noise ordinance (addressing all contributors to escalating noise, not just UTVs); exploring technology available to measure decibel levels; evaluating the city’s options to have more of a say in which streets are used, and if vehicles are trailered; asking manufacturers for quieter engines.

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 was that enforcing existing laws so that unregistered machines or speeders would be held accountable would be the best approach. I support this. I do not believe singling out one source of noise is the right way to go.

Kalen Jones: I look forward to hearing the recommendations of the UTV/ noise committee, and hope that the UTV industry will act quickly to proactively address its noise impacts. Failing that, I will work to enact a noise ordinance to equitably limit the noise impact of all vehicles, lobby the state to allow regulation of UTVs by less populous cities such as Moab, and lobby industry to improve UTV mufflers so their riders can be more considerate neighbors and guests. Speed limits should be enforced with enough consistency that visitors know you just don’t speed in Moab.

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. 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. 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.

Christine “Cricket” White-Green: Enforce the existing laws for all vehicles. Singling out UTVs, or any type of vehicle, is a dangerous proposition. I think that signs should be posted at the entrance of Moab saying something to the effect that “Welcome to Our Home. To protect our citizens and visitors all traffic and noise restrictions will be strictly enforced.”

6. How can the city council best address Moab’s shortage of affordable housing and workforce housing?

Don Cook: I believe that working together we can find innovative solutions to our affordable housing problem. One thing I learned as a business leader is that difficult problems require some out-of-the-box thinking to solve. We can certainly have a less cumbersome maze of regulations for developers that will still protect the city and its residents. In addition, I think we need to meet with and work with those with rental space and developing rental space, employers wanting to have housing for their employees, and other stakeholders to come up with ways to meet their needs and the needs of our citizens needing affordable housing. We may want to consider using some kind of incentive to keep rental space as long-term rentals, rather than nightly rentals.

Rani Derasary: After speaking with residents, business owners, builders, realtors, and the housing authority and attending Interlocal Housing Task Force meetings, I feel strongly that the city needs to take an aggressive multipronged approach. The city has made zoning changes allowing residential use in commercially zoned areas. It is also: considering greater density and micro-units; talking to communities facing similar challenges; and considering having developers include affordable units in their projects, and/ or contribute funding for affordable housing. The city can also: contribute toward building employee housing; assure city employees earn a living wage; offer developers incentives to make building affordable housing financially viable; promote deed restrictions to assure that some housing remains affordable; 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 – from even affording rent in Moab. Finally, as we plan for the long term, we need to accept that there is a limit to the amount of land available in the city, and live responsibly within the bounds of the water in our valley (an amount the USGS water study should quantify).

Kelly Mike Green: I believe we have too much governmental red tape. The city needs to be more responsive to all of its citizens. This is a complicated problem and will need to be addressed from several angles but working with private individuals and developers to find innovative solutions will help address our housing issue.

Kalen Jones: The city can continue to participate in the Housing Task Force. Increased density can reduce development cost. I will work to reduce density impacts on existing neighborhoods through sensible setback and shielding standards. I will tailor open space requirements to emphasize quality (e.g. trails, riparian areas) over quantity. I will link incentives to permanent affordability, to minimize conversion of “affordable” units to market rate. I will explore ways to encourage homes to remain occupied by Moab residents.

Tawny Knuteson Boyd: 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. We should allow the housing authority and the Housing Task Force to do the jobs they have been asked to do. Be supportive of the good ideas they come up with, without getting bogged down micromanaging the smallest details. We should also look at the possibility of relaxing some of the city codes and regulations, to allow for higher density housing and possibly some nontraditional housing.

Christine “Cricket” White Green: I have worked with developers, Moab City and Grand County as a title agent and understand the intricacies involved in this issue. We need to work with developers and other interested parties to help solve the issue without additional government intrusion. It is my belief that we should streamline the subdivision process and find ways to encourage developers and investors to provide more long-term rentals at affordable prices. In addition, having met with several people involved in real estate, the illegal overnight rentals need to be addressed. This could also help the current rental situation.

7. Are there any issues affecting the city that should be getting more attention?

Don Cook: I feel that we have not informed and involved the general citizens in what is happening and where we are going. This statement may not be fair to our community leaders because it is a two-way street and a lot of the problem is that the general population has not put forth the effort to be informed. Somehow, we need to help the general population become more involved and that will bring about more input, better thinking and good solutions to our future.

Rani Derasary: Issues I consider important due to the number of times different residents have raised them are: a desire for the city and county to collaborate more; and a sense that the city only cares about tourists, not residents.

Kelly Mike Green: I think our crumbling infrastructure is the main concern right now along with the affordable housing situation. Our sewer plant is over 50 years old and must be replaced as those living next to it can attest. Our working class residents need housing that is affordable, which includes rentals and being able to purchase a home that is affordable is something the community desperately needs. I would like your vote and support this coming election. Thank you. kellymike@excite.com.

Kalen Jones: The impacts of tourism and the housing shortage have been growing for decades. Although they have received much attention, better leadership is needed to focus and translate that attention into results. The protracted general plan revision is an opportunity to elicit public input on the specific tradeoffs that may be required to navigate these issues. I will provide effective management of that process to obtain that information, and turn that input into action.

Tawny Knuteson-Boyd: The joint city/ county council meeting in July was a good eye opener for many people. It gave everyone some perspective about what we have done and haven’t done over the past 20 years or so. We have known what needed to be done and regardless of the reasons, those tasks have been left to the “next” group. It’s paramount we learn to cooperate with each other, and with other groups and agencies, and compromise to achieve our goals. We need to set goals that are attainable and some that may be more lofty and work to complete those goals. See them through. Communicate clearly and listen to ideas, thoughts and philosophies of every person and entity involved; don’t discount anyone simply because of past disagreements. Follow up or follow through with what we initiate, be good with our words and our deeds. We should look at what is right for the most people, for the city and community as a whole. It doesn’t diminish any one individual to have differing opinions. What diminishes our community is when we allow those opinions to become the focus rather than accomplishing the goal or the project at hand.

Christine “Cricket” White-Green: I think our citizens are quite aware of the important issues facing our city. There may be other issues people would like to see addressed but many are not issues that are appropriately addressed by city government.

The City of Moab’s general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Six candidates are running for three at-large seats on the Moab City Council: Don Cook, Rani Derasary, Kelly Mike Green, Kalen Jones, Tawny Knuteson-Boyd and Christine “Cricket” White-Green. Wayne Y. Hoskisson and Doug McElhaney appear on the city’s alphabetical list of candidates, but both men formally withdrew from the race in June. Moab city residents who are registered voters can vote early in person for the Moab Municipal General Election at Moab City Center, 217 E. Center St., beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 20 and ending on Friday, Oct. 30. Early voting hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voters can also request a ballot by mail by filing an absentee ballot application with the Moab City Recorder’s Office. Absentee voting will be held through Thursday, Oct. 29. In-person voting will be held at four polling locations on Nov. 3: the Moab City Center, the Grand County Courthouse, the Grand Center and the First Baptist Church. Voters can find their precincts by going to the state’s official election website at: vote.utah.gov/vote/menu/index.

For more information, call the Moab City Recorder’s Office at 435-259-2683, or go to the city’s official election site at: www.moabcity.state.ut.us/index.aspx?NID=236.

Please see the Oct. 22-28 edition of the Moab Sun News for information about proposed sales tax measure Proposition 1 and Grand County’s separate election. Unlike the city’s election — which includes options for early voting, absentee voting and in-person voting on Election Day — Grand County’s election is being conducted exclusively by mail.