Q&As with Castle Pines candidates for public office

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The following are Q&As with candidates for public office in Castle Pines. Each candidate was asked the same questions by Colorado Community Media.

Dana Hall, mayoral candidate:

When Dana Hall, 42, was a child, she would pretend to write up contracts and sell homes for fun. She went on to get a business-administration degree from Colorado State University, and then get into mortgage banking. She also owns a company she started, Admin Solutions, which provides virtual administrative support to companies. In 2004, Hall moved to Castle Pines, a quiet, safe country setting, especially compared with her last home on the 10th tee and a busy intersection in Highlands Ranch. She lost her husband to cancer in 2009, which she said resulted in her discovering a depth of strength and courage — and to be a model for her two children, and now a stepson. She remarried recently.

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running for mayor of Castle Pines because I love our community and because I believe I have the collaborative leadership experience, vision and passion to restore fiscal discipline and public trust in our city government and in the core services it provides. As mayor of Castle Pines, I intend to accomplish three primary objectives:

• Substantially improve street maintenance,

• Build community consensus around if, how, and under what conditions the city should authorize the location, design, financing, and construction of any possible recreation center. We Need A Plan!

• Authorize an outside independent financial audit of all city finances to reveal exactly how much revenue.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I ask for your support for mayor of Castle Pines in large part because I believe that I possess the collaborative leadership experience, vision and passion required to restore fiscal discipline and public trust in our city government and in the core services it provides.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

When elected mayor I would request an OUTSIDE INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL AUDIT and forecast be completed. How do we align city spending with community priorities? Can our city afford to properly maintain its streets and pay for its deferred street maintenance backlog? To what degree can our city afford to design, build and operate a recreation center? Without a thorough financial audit, we can't know.

The city budget is roughly $3.8 million. Aside from salaries and benefits for a handful of hard-working city staff, where does the money go? I respectfully suggest that an outside, independent financial audit will reveal the answers we need and will inform all future decision-making.

So, at the risk of being redundant, if elected mayor, my first action item will be to collaborate with council to authorize an outside independent financial audit of all city finances. Audit findings will serve as the basis to direct more revenue to street maintenance, to pay for the existing deferred street maintenance backlog, and to responsibly apply each dollar of city revenue to community priorities.

Jeffrey Huff, mayoral candidate:

Jeffrey Huff, Castle Pines' current mayor, grew up in Ohio, spending much of his time reading books and aiming for a career in law. Huff received a bachelor's degree in political science from Ohio State University and then went on to law school. Huff loved mountains and outdoor activities and so established his life in Colorado after graduation. He now does financial planning, starting his own company a year ago after being with Morgan Stanley for 24 years. He moved to Castle Pines in 2001 and got involved in various volunteer activities — including the effort to incorporate the community because he said he thinks having local, close representation makes for a more responsive government. The most important thing to him, though, is spending time with his daughters.

Why are you seeking this office?

As mayor for the past four years I have accomplished a great deal, but more remains to be done. We have put the city on a firm financial foundation and a solid path to success. Starting a new city is a lot like starting a new business. There are growing pains at first and then the people and processes begin to click. We have established the departments of Public Works, Community Development, Finance, City Clerk and hired professional staff members for each. We have some major new amenities on the near horizon: a new library and recreation facility. I'd like to get those built.

What makes you the best person for the job?

Experience. Being effective in this job means working toward consensus and achieving compromise. We have some strong-willed and opinionated people on council so it is not always easy. I've served on the board of directors for many organizations, here in Castle Pines and elsewhere. I've learned that even if I don't get my way, it's important to move on and work the next issue. We are here to solve problems, not create them. It's easy to run on a platform for change: but in reality, there are six other members of city council whose votes count just as much.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

Our history has been one of resolving small issues, one at a time. For instance, we pulled together different organizations to build Elk Ridge Park. We ended the litigation with the CPN Metro District. We designed and implemented a street improvement plan. These were all big challenges at the time. The majority of our revenues are derived from the business community that submits sales tax dollars to the city as well as from consumers who dine and shop in Castle Pines. We have the lowest total sales tax rate of any city in Douglas County, so we have to deliver more with less. We need to utilize those tax dollars where they are most effective. We must be doing this right since Castle Pines ranked 17th nationally in CNN Money Magazine's 2013 Best Places to Live and ranked 3rd Best Suburban Place to Live in Colorado in a Coldwell Banker survey.

Gregg Fisher, treasurer candidate:

Gregg Fisher was often told by teachers he had a high IQ, but the comment that meant a lot to him was in adulthood when an employer told him that it was hard to find someone of his “character and integrity.” Fisher spent part of his childhood at Lowry Air Force Base, where his father was based. Fisher eventually developed a career in computer science, network design and sales. He started his own business three years ago.

He lives in Castle Pines with his wife, Kimberly, and they have three children, one still at home. He thinks there's no other place like Castle Pines, and with his background in logic and numbers, he wants to be a part of creating a sustainable future and master plan for the city. He is running unopposed for treasurer.

Why are you seeking this office?

I feel that it is an excellent opportunity to serve the community and have a positive influence on the future of our city

What makes you the best person for the job?

I'm a numbers and logic guy, which I feel is a good trait for the office of treasurer. I'm also very capable of approaching situations with a fresh eye and an unbiased attitude.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

As our city and infrastructure age, it is critical that we recognize and prepare for the challenges that face us in the coming years. The specific problems must be identified and a solid, clear, and viable plan must be created and put in motion to address those challenges while maintaining a balance between well managed growth and the unique character and charm of our city. If elected, I will provide the transparency and candor that the position would benefit from as well as being an advocate for positive change where needed.

Rex Lucas, city council candidate, Ward 1:

Rex Lucas, 68, an Air Force retiree with a business degree, specialized in aeromedical rescues and was a part of the hurried removal of American prisoners of war in 1973 before the North Vietnamese could change their minds about releasing them. He also helped with the emergency retrieval of an ill doctor in adverse weather conditions from Antarctica. He liked having daily difficult problems to solve.

Since moving from California to Colorado in 2003 when his wife, Donna, accepted a job here, he has volunteered on homeowners association boards and currently serves on Castle Pines' planning commission. He also volunteers for the USO and travels to places he's never been — and is a daily exerciser, with a precise running, swimming and weightlifting routine. He is a write-in candidate for city council and is running unopposed.

Why are you seeking this office?

I was asked to run by a friend and current member of the council. As a previous and current volunteer in various capacities, I feel an obligation to serve my community when asked.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I do not consider myself to be better qualified than other residents of my ward. My qualifications to be considered include years of volunteer community service and an interest in the well-being of Castle Pines.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

I believe Castle Pines is great place to live. I am concerned about the plans for future development and the desire to maintain the community as is. I intend to listen to what is presented to the council and vote for what best serves the city and its residents.

Resa Labossiere, city council candidate, Ward 2:

Resa Labossiere, 48, director of business operations for a Fortune 500 company, said she learned life was short and to make the most of it after breaking her back in an accident at age 16 and spending months recuperating. She got a finance degree from California State University and worked for a time as a consultant until deciding to live overseas for a while. After moving there she found work implementing a new financial system for an international company. Labossiere, who moved to Castle Pines with her husband in 2004, led the 2010 effort in Castle Pines to overturn city council's Urban Renewal Authority plan that she said research showed was just a tool for developers to increase housing densities. If elected, she hopes to help create a more transparent operation and solve looming needs such as street rehabilitation.

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running for Castle Pines City Council Ward 2. My priorities are to focus on what matters to the residents of Caste Pines, to increase transparency and to re-engage our community. For more information, please visit www.resalabossiere.com.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I value diversity of thought and background. I have the courage to speak up for what I believe is right. And I'm motivated to help make our community even more exceptional than it already is.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

It is time for a reality check. City council seems to believe that investments they have made in our roads is sufficient, yet you only have to drive Monarch or Castle Pines Parkway to see that the roads still need a lot of work. Can we afford to really maintain the streets and operate the rest of the city's vital functions without raising taxes? No one knows, and that is the biggest issue. If elected, I will work to make all aspects of our city government open to public scrutiny. City spending, forecasted revenues and costs should be known and open to the public in a timely and easily accessible way. City council should engage in informed decision-making by having honest, complete and factual information available to both the elected officials and the public. The simple question “Where does my money go?” should be just as simple to answer.

Michael Graczyk, city council candidate, Ward 2:

Michael Graczyk, 66, was born and raised in the Chicago area, and majored in physics at Ohio's John Carroll University. He worked for United Airlines for 24 years and then eight years for Echostar Communications. He has an extensive IT background, and has had leadership roles in projects involving building large computer sites. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two grown children. Their daughter, Jennifer, is director of quality systems for Abbott Labs in Chicago, and their son, Scott, is an ASE certified master technician working in Denver for Road Safe. For fun, he is involved in drag racing. He and his son have built a highly modified 1973 Pontiac Firebird. He is a write-in candidate for city council.

Why are you seeking this office?

The reason I have chosen to become a part of the political process is based on several things; first, I have been a resident of Forest Park for over 15 years and as such, I am committed to the success and growth of our community, second, I have experienced the challenges of our transition into incorporation, and third, I have a strong desire to help establish the positive direction of the city through guidance by its RESIDENTS.

What makes you the best person for the job?

Trying to satisfy everyone's definition of “Best Person for the Job” would be close to impossible as each individual would have a unique response if asked what qualities they would feel would make someone best for the position. I have never held any type of political office and do not have any hidden agenda or political commitment to interfere with the responsibility of listening to the residents and carrying their ideas as well as complaints to the city council.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

The outcome of our city's incorporation was not always what I and many of my neighbors had anticipated. If given the opportunity, I will do my best to address the most important issue of ensuring that decisions made by and the direction taken by the city council will address the wants, needs and concerns of the people the city.

Charles Addlesperger, city council candidate, Ward 3:

Charles Roger Addlesperger, a University of Arizona graduate with a marketing degree, worked for Bristol-Myers in new products before eventually becoming the land-acquisition manager for a major homebuilder. He and his wife, Candy, moved to Castle Pines in 1986 and he served on the first Castle Pines North Metropolitan District board. He has been involved in such things as working to get a library and parks and says he wants to get involved again in decision-making to help keep this desirable community desirable. He's worried the city could become a place of strip malls in light of recent annexations involving lands that have heavy commercial zoning.

Why are you seeking this office?

I have been a resident of Castle Pines North for 27 years and recently have become concerned about the direction the city is going. City government doesn't seem to be engaged with the residents. There is little communication with constituents regarding the status of the city and what is planned for our future.

What makes you the best person for the job?

EXPERIENCE. I have spent the past 40 years in the development business working with various state, counties and municipalities. I have managed and negotiated several annexations and development agreements and understand the needs of both the city and developers. For the past 26 years I have been elected to and served on several metropolitan districts. This has given me experience in the planning, management and financing of governmental entities

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

This city was incorporated on a financial plan that shows many assumptions that have not come to fruition. The revenue sources were overstated and costs were under-projected. The infrastructure of this city is nearing its expected life and there is no existing plan showing when replacement is needed or how much it is going to cost. The plan as of today is to keep pouring money into quick fixes, which is a waste of residents' money. A plan has to be developed that shows what our future costs are and how the city is going to pay these costs. The lack of these projections is unfair to the residents and impacts their future home values and quality of life.

Jaime Edwards, city council candidate, Ward 3:

Jaime Edwards, a former Federal Reserve Bank bank examiner in California, with degrees in economics and finance, can remember as a child starting a bank in her family's home and having an authentic receipt book to use at her lemonade stand — and always being entrepreneurial. In Castle Pines, recently appointed to a vacant Ward 3 seat that she wants to keep, she said she's devoted to her family and community service and has started a small business. She wants to increase communication and partnership among different entities and the city — a city with no debt that she thinks is well-managed.

Why are you seeking this office?

As current Ward 3 councilperson, and past city clerk, re-election as councilperson is an opportunity to make meaningful and immediate contributions to the continued success of the local government within the City of Castle Pines. I have the time, values and commitment necessary, to remain a dedicated and integral participant within our surrounding cities and volunteer community. I am extremely involved in many organizations throughout the city including the schools, government entities, the chamber, churches, and local businesses.

What makes you the best person for the job?

My diverse background as a former Federal Reserve Bank examiner and supervisory analyst combined with my entrepreneurial spirit enables my understanding of the challenges facing local business owners. As formerly stated, I am extremely involved within the city. Since moving here, I have established a goal to commit to public service and community events in the hopes of reaching as many residents as possible in an effort to communicate city information and listen to their concerns. As a proud and faithful mother and wife, I look forward to continuing my outreach.

What do you believe is the most important issue facing your city and how will you approach it, if elected?

As a councilperson, I represent a voice to bring concerns and praise from the community from which I was elected to the city council and mayor. Residents are concerned about renewable water, infrastructure, growth and development, home values and school performance among other factors. I intend to continue to make residential concerns the main priority during my term.

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