Paul Sutton's Stand on the issues from Candidate Question Night
- Why do you want to be on the board?
I want to contribute to "keeping Morrison, Morrison". There are many pressures on Morrison with respect to development, traffic, and resources. I want to serve on the board to preserve the good things we enjoy in this community and oppose dramatic growth in the size of our population and land holdings.
- For several years, the primary goal of the Board of Trustees has been to “Keep Morrison, Morrison”. The main way of doing that would be through disconnecting the residential portion of the Rooney Valley. Would you support this goal? (Do not talk about re-zoning, just disconnection)
I support disconnecting the residential portion of the Rooney Valley. The developments that are being proposed for this site would increase the population of Morrions by 2,500 to 5,000 people if we do not disconnect. The current residents of the incorporated town of Morrison would be outnumbered by anywhere from 5 to 10 to 1. We would simply lose local control and we would no longer have the ability to "Keep Morrison, Morrison".
- What qualification do you have that would make you a good Mayor/Trustee?
I have served as an alternate on the Planning Commission for the town of Morrison. I was also on the Board of a community in California (The San Marcos Trout Club) that had an architectural board of review, a water company, and I dealt with FEMA and the Small Business Administration after one third of this community burned down in a wildfire. I have been the chair of a Planning Department at the University of South Australia and serve on many academic boards related to urbanization and sustainability (e.g. United Nations Global Environmental Review, The Human Planet Initiative, Well-Being Economy Alliance Steering Committee).
- Five, ten, twenty years from now, what do you think Morrison should look like?
I believe that what Morrison should look like in the future should be decided by the citizens of Morrison. What I personally would like to see is people of all ages living and working here. I want to make sure that we keep Red Rocks Elementary and that we do not become a resort community for a narrow demographic profile. I would like to believe we will always be able to see the stars at night in Morrison so I will fight light pollution both internally and from nearby development. The same goes for noise pollution. I would like Morrison to be a town that demonstrates what a Well-Being Economy looks like – A city where people live happy, prosperous, and rewarding lives in an environmentally sustainable way.
- Is it more important for the Town to maintain its current identity and sense of place, or adapt to the changes that are happening in nearby communities?
I believe the citizens of Morrison reserve the right to create a town that suits our desires. Of course we have to obey local, state, and federal laws; however, we do NOT have to surrender to development models that are oriented toward golf courses, gated communities, and exclusion if we do not want to. My first operating principle is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it', and I feel Morrison is not broken right now. Nonetheless, I am of course open to positive developments that are supported by the majority of the community.
- What direction should the Town be going on the topic of medical/recreational marijuana?
I believe the presence of the Red Rocks Amphitheater suggests that there is already a great deal of medical/recreational marijuana being consumed in and around Morrison. I am inclined to oppose the opening of a dispensary in town but am open minded on the matter. It may be a source of revenue that we might want to consider.
- What direction should the Town be going on the topic of short-term rentals?
This is a serious question that I believe should ultimately be put before the voters. My inclination is to support the ban on short term rentals because it changes the single family character of our neighborhoods. I personally 'exchange' my house with people in other parts of the world for a month in the summer time. It is my understanding this is not a short-term situation. I understand there is disagreement on this issue. One compromise I think we might consider is allowing short term rentals for portions of homes in which the owner or tenant is present during the short-term occupation. If we do change our policy I would suggest we give it a test run for one or two years and reassess at that point in time.
- What direction should the Town be going on the topic of parking?
One change I would like to see is the following: Several Morrison Parking spots should have electric vehicle charging stations. This is good for several reasons: 1) Cars have to charge for an hour or more encouraging people to patronize local business, 2) Electric Cars are QUIET, and 3) This will likely enable Morrison to move in a positive direction toward carbon neutrality. Morrison provides a lot of parking for a town of this size. It's pretty crowded during the summer and more parking will aggravate that. If we need more bodies in town without their cars we might run a shuttle from Bandemere parking lot. My first instinct is to NOT build more parking spots but I am open minded on the matter.
- What direction should the Town be going on the topic of noise?
Currently Chief Mumma is working actively to enforce existing noise regulations to see if current ordinances will be effective if more actively enforced. The next step of the current plan is to establish a new noise ordinance that is modeled on the city of Golden's noise ordinance which has been observed to be quite effective. I support the current plan. I believe Morrison is too noisy and we need to improve. Steps are being taken to address this. If these steps do not produce desired results I will be pro-active on the board to pursue other measures to reduce the level of noise in the town.
- Are you willing to put in the necessary homework for the meetings?
Yes – Is this a trick question? 🙂
- The Board is responsible for the fiduciary affairs of the Town. Do you feel you will be able to contribute and how?
I can do arithmetic. I do not know what level of detail the board members are presented with regarding the financial matters of the town. Kara Winters has discretionary budget authority for some matters and I understand she has been diligent with respect to identifying budgetary discrepancies. I am very interested in learning more about the fiduciary situation of our town and I would like to get involved in the discussions regarding the procurement of renewable energy for the town. I am attending meetings of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) and have listened to presentations from both Pueblo and Boulder (two cities with very different socio-economic profiles) regarding their 100% carbon neutral energy plans. There are many exciting ways to combat climate change that will actually save us money. These are exciting times in this respect.
- What are the issues, if any, that you feel need to be addressed within Morrison?
There are immediate tactical issues and there are long term strategic issues.
Immediate Issues –
1) Disconnection of the Rooney Ranch land is vital to our ability to retain local control
2) We need to get the noise problem solved. This is a vigilance issue at this point.
3) We need to be part of the dialog regarding the future of the CCC camp.
4) Traffic – Traffic is an issue in our town particularly in the summer and particularly for local students walking to school. I have heard rumblings of a roundabout at the light in front of the elementary school. I am opposed to that at first blush but open minded to the discussion.
Strategic Issues –
1) Water – Who do we sell it to? I would prefer soft commitments to entities such as the Red Rocks Amphitheater and the CCC camp rather than hard commitments to residential development that aggravates traffic, noise, and congestion.
2) Red Rocks Elementary – Our school is a wonderful asset of our town. I like having children in our community and we need to nurture our relationship with the school itself and the school district. Our school frequently makes the closure list when budgets are tight. If JeffCo shuts down Red Rocks Elementary who knows what alternative use it could be replaced with. I very much doubt it would be an improvement on our wonderful school.
3) Regional Integration / Relations – The nature and quality of Morrison will depend to a great extent on the nature and quality of our neighboring businesses and communities (e.g. Bandemere, Red Rocks, Idledale, Willow Springs, etc.). I am not aware of the nature and extent of any strategic dialogs happening between our town and our neighbors but I would certainly support maintaining what is going on if not strengthening it.
4) Become a Dark Sky Community (http://www.darksky.org/idsp/communities/ ) – Most people cannot see the milky way where they live. We recently dodged a development bullet (the Dinosaur Ridge auto dealerships) that would have polluted our night sky. By becoming a dark sky community we will have 'staked the claim' that we oppose light pollution which can help us fight development that produces it.
5) Support a Well-Being Economy (http://www.wellbeingeconomy.org/ ) A wellbeing economy recognizes that the economy is embedded in society and the rest of nature and that true freedom and success depend on creating a world where we all prosper and flourish. Institutions serve humanity best when they foster our individual dignity while enhancing our interconnectedness. To thrive, all institutions (including businesses) and society must pivot toward a new purpose: shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.
- What is your vision for the future of Morrison? Include comments on streets, water, finances, and growth.
I have lots of ideas about planting more fruit trees in public spaces (historical roots of the Ciderfest ?), supporting the idea of the town providing internet in a net neutral way, electric vehicle charging stations, and much more. I understand that we proceed democratically based on consensus and I am eager to present these ideas and more to the people of Morrison and the town board. I have addressed the issues of streets, water, finances, and growth in my previous statements. In summary I am very supportive of the "Keep Morrison, Morrison" plan.
- Are there any other issues that you would like to speak on that you feel have not been addressed or is there anything else you would like to tell us?
I still love jokes told in person. Please come and tell me your favorite joke. Two of my favorites are:
Q: What did the Buddha say to the Hot Dog Vendor?
A: Make me one with everything.
So the Buddha hands the hot dog vendor a $20 and says 'make me one with everything'. The Hot dog vendor gives the Buddha a beautiful hot dog with everything on it. The Buddha says "Hey, I gave you $20. Where's my change?"
Hot Dog Vendor Replies:
'I thought you knew, being the Buddha and all, Change can only come from within'.