Six candidates will vie for three seats on the Moab City Council in the next election on Nov. 5. Incumbent candidates Rani Derasary, Kalen Jones and Tawny Knuteson-Boyd will be joined by challengers Kenneth G. Minor, M. Bryon Walston and Kendall Jenson.
Here at the Moab Sun News, we heard from readers who wanted a deeper look at the candidates. We’ve presented a profile of one candidate each week leading up to the election.
This week, we spoke to Ken Minor via email.
What's your personal background? How did you get to Moab, or when did your family get here? What sort of work have you done professionally?
My family moved to Moab in 1968 when Bates Wilson hired my father to be the district ranger in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. He later worked as the recreation planner for BLM. I was raised in Moab and attended Grand County Schools. I left in 1983 to get a degree in Engineering. I worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for 10 years in a materials research group primarily responsible for a small particle accelerator. My wife and I with our four children moved to Moab at the end of 1999 to help my mother with her local H&R Block office. We built a house in her backyard, had a few more children, and have been here ever since. I am now an accountant by profession and have run our locally owned small business for almost 20 years.
What neighborhood do you live in? Why? Where are your favorite places to spend time in our town?
I live off Pack Creek on what used to be part of the family farm. We built where we are so we could care for my mother as her health deteriorated due to illness. Building on the family property was also the only way we could afford to move here. My favorite place to spend time in our town is on what is left of the family farm. You'll frequently find me hiking Mill Creek or another local trail. You may find me out on a 4wd road in an old Dodge. I was a scoutmaster for years and enjoy camping on the mountain or out in pinyon and juniper country. Occasionally you'll find me at the city pool with my family who spends quite a bit of time there.
What's an example of a great ordinance or political move you've seen in the last few years here in Moab?
I like the 2018 ordinance that clarified the conflict of interest and ethics standards for City officials and employees. I also agree with the goals of the Planned Affordable Development ordinance passed this spring. Using incentives and allowing higher density are great ways to potentially increase the inventory of affordable housing in Moab.
If you could change one thing in our zoning code, what would it be and why?
If I could change one thing in our zoning code it would be to reinstate conditional use permits. There are locations in Moab City that may be appropriate for uses outside the narrow confines of their zoning and I feel that the old conditional use process appropriately allowed for spot exceptions without requiring a full rezone which may not be appropriate for the area. A conditional use process allows for a specific use where a rezone would frequently either allow for additional uses that may not be appropriate for the area or fail for that reason and deny that appropriate alternative use.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our town?
I plan on involving residents in the decision-making process through communication and information gathering. I value input from all perspectives of an issue to better allow me to understand the issues. When I was coaching debate, we taught the kids to be nimble-minded so they could understand the issues from each perspective in order to better form and argue their platforms. If we can see and really try to understand the issues from varied perspectives, we can make more intelligent and informed decisions in the best interest of the entire community.
If you saw a proposal to build a new piece of public infrastructure in our city, how would you evaluate whether that project was worth implementing?
Public infrastructure is a big issue for me. Much of the infrastructure that is less glamorous in nature has been ignored and needs attention. When we have a fund for infrastructure that we contribute to over a long period of time, that fund should not be raided for other purposes. To do so is shortsighted and unwise. With that in mind, I would evaluate public infrastructure projects based on necessity and cost. If it is of a critical nature for health and safety it has the highest priority. Basic utilities and stormwater management come to mind. The next threshold is to see the impact of the project. How many people will be affected and how? Is the project severely needed, a significant benefit, or simply a great idea for improvement? All are valid and should be considered. The next is the cost. What is the return on investment of the project and how does that ROI compared to other projects on the table?
If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer footing for future growth?
If elected I will work to put our city on a firmer footing for future growth by concentrating on needed infrastructure. I will also work to make city hall more accessible to the citizens. I would like to see the city employees empowered to help local citizens and businesses with their concerns in dealing with the city government. I believe that we can work together with a proactive cooperative mindset for the benefit of the community.
If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?
If I received a $1 million grant to use for the city, it would be applied to our infrastructure. Probably a public utility or stormwater project, but really I’d go to the city engineers and employees and ask them where they see the biggest unfulfilled needs and go from there. They know the inner workings of our city better than anyone else.
Editor’s note: Responses may have been edited for length and clarity.