Q&As with candidates for Centennial mayor, city council

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Colorado Community Media asked three identical questions of candidates for public office in Centennial. Below are their answers.

Mayor:

Monika Bromley

Monika Bromley is running for mayor against incumbent Cathy Noon. Born in Torrance, Calif., Bromley is a part-time yoga instructor and mother of five. She has an associate's degree in paralegal studies and is the secretary of the Chaparral HOA. Before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom, Bromley worked as a paralegal and also as an executive assistant for a mining company and law firm. This is her first run for political office. She has lived in Centennial for 13 years.

Why are you seeking this office?

I am not seeking office for myself. I have no political aspirations. I am doing this for the citizens of Centennial. I aspire to be the voice of the citizens. I got involved because I had concerns regarding the path our city was heading. I wanted to make sure we were sticking to the core values this city was built on. I am proud to live here and want others to feel the same way.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I am the best person, because I AM NOT A POLITICIAN. I am here as a citizen to help keep our city on the right track. I will bring honesty, integrity and accessibility to the office of mayor. I will bring fresh ears, eyes and ideas into the office. I will not be keeping track of all my accomplishments, as that is not who I am. I am your citizen mayor. I hope my impact will benefit our current citizens and generations to come.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

I think the most important issue facing Centennial is “the feeling of expansion.” The city itself is big, but the government itself should remain small. That means keeping spending to a minimum, focus on the necessary and what benefits the citizens. Keep ordinances and regulations to a minimum, again, only what benefits the citizens. Have accessibility and excellent communication within the city council and citizens. We need to keep the citizens informed of what is going on and stay connected. BIG government doesn't always mean size, it means the focus of that said government and its inaccessibility.

Cathy Noon

Cathy Noon, who describes herself as a “lifelong community volunteer and organizer,” was elected Centennial's mayor in 2009. Married with two children, Noon is running for re-election against Monika Bromley. Noon and her husband, Jim, own Centennial Container Inc., a packaging company, and Recycle Care, a recycling company for paper, plastic and metal waste products. Noon also works for Community Resource Services managing water and metropolitan districts. She studied theater at the University of Maryland and University of Colorado at Denver and has lived in Centennial for 14 years.

Why are you seeking this office?

It has been an honor to serve as mayor for the past four years. Centennial has many successes to be proud of — healthy finances, beautiful Center Park, awards and acknowledgments for innovation and as Money magazine's 47th best place to live in the U.S. I plan to continue to use my business, civic, and community experience to make Centennial the best city to live, work and play. What Centennial does, it should do well. City council will lose four members due to term limits so it is important to have experience, knowledge and continuity in the office of mayor.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I've served Centennial for 14 years in elected and non-elected positions. While I've been mayor, the city has hired a new city manager who shares Centennial's belief in smart government; realigned staff and contracting to increase efficiency; and extended our Public Works contract for five years at a savings of $1 million while increasing service levels such as an additional 93 miles of routine snow plowing in Centennial. I promoted the formation of the Centennial Senior Commission and Business Technical Advisory Group to increase input to city policy-making. I'm dedicated to looking out for your interests and our city.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

Centennial may only be 13 years old, but its places and people average a bit closer to middle age. Why should that matter? Well, with age comes more upkeep and the need to plan for the future. To ensure that Centennial continues to thrive, we need to take care of roads that need more maintenance, keep our neighborhoods attractive to new buyers, retain and attract businesses with good jobs and ensure those who want to age in place have that ability. While we may anticipate changes in our city, outreach and partnerships with the community, staff research and expertise, and innovation through our contractors can provide us with the vision and tools to keep Centennial in the lead. A vibrant city doesn't just happen — it is the result of good planning and hard work. I'm ready to get to work!

City Council, District 1:

Mike Hanbery

Mike Hanbery, a Southglenn resident and self-described “community advocate,” is running for the District 1 council seat currently held by Rick Dindinger, who is term-limited. His opponent in the race is Kathy Turley. Hanbery is the director of New Media Strategies at Webolutions, a Greenwood Village-based marketing agency. Married with two children, he has a bachelor's degree in mass communication and political science from the University of Denver and an MBA from DU's Daniels College of Business. He has lived in Centennial for 10 years. This is his first run for political office.

Why are you seeking this office?

Economic development and communications opportunities fitting my professional experience coincide with Rick Dindinger's term limitation. I've earned the confidence of the people who know how the work of the city gets done. I've been endorsed by current Centennial District 1 City Council representatives Rick Dindinger (R) and Vorry Moon (D), current District 4 Centennial City Council representative Ron Weidmann (R), former District 3 Centennial City Council representative Andrea Suhaka (I), Centennial Planning and Zoning Commissioner Michael Sutherland (R) and Centennial founder John Brackney (R). I want to maintain the city's momentum while keeping true to our model of limited government.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I am the only candidate with positions and plans to help District 1 neighborhoods maintain their character and quality of life through the development we will see over the next four years, including the Littleton Village (Marathon Oil) property; and who has met with Centennial's director of economic development, past director of community development, current city manager and city attorney about issues facing the city. I'll improve the city's relationships. Endorsements by Littleton City Council representatives Phil Cernanec (R) and Bruce Stahlman (R) show I understand the importance of working with our neighbors. I'll proactively communicate with my fellow residents.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

We face many challenges. Lacking in leadership, our Senior Commission is in danger of losing funding. Improvement is needed in road repair, traffic management and snow removal. Our current garbage collection system places undue stress on our neighborhood streets, in addition to other problems. These issues can be resolved logically, almost mathematically. A more insidious, overarching problem is our city's lack of a shared identity. Centennial is young, geographically broad and fragmented. Many in the western part of town still habitually put “Littleton” on our return addresses. The city's map east of I-25 is severely fragmented. Forty-seven percent of Centennial residents did not live here when the city was founded. We must become the place to which their children wish to return to raise their families. Let's bring continuity to our city. When our residents proudly declare they are “from Centennial,” our city will be even safer and more livable.

Kathy Turley

A self-described “seniors' advocate” and community activist who served on Centennial's Home Rule Charter Commission, Kathy Turley is running against Mike Hanbery for the District 1 seat currently held by Rick Dindinger, who is term-limited. The longtime Forest Park resident, maried and mother of four, ran unsuccessfully for Centennial City Council 12 years ago when the city was first incorporated. She has a bachelor's degree in sociology from San Jose State and is a former sales executive for Kaiser Permanente. She has lived in Centennial for 41 years.

Why are you running for city council?

I am proud to be a citizen of the City of Centennial! For over 35 years we have lived in District 1, the oldest part of the city and the most unique, in terms of its historical context. I will represent District 1 with a mission to protect, preserve and maintain our neighborhoods in the western end of Centennial. As we continue on the journey, growing our city, encouraging commercial and retail business, I want to join with my fellow councilmen in dedicating our time and expertise towards the success and future of the City of Centennial.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I have recently retired and am able to devote the time necessary to be a full-time city councilman. My experience of 40 years in the public/private sector is a perfect prerequisite for this job. My vision for Centennial is fiscal responsibility, being a good steward with taxpayers' dollars and less government is good government, providing just the basics of public safety, public works and economic development. Lastly, to keep Centennial as a suburb, I want to support the Parks and Recreation Districts whose responsibility is to maintain Centennial's beauty where we live, work and play.

What is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

If elected to the city council, I will focus on three areas: First, our identity! It is not a Center Park, nor a grandiose building. It is not your normal city! Our signature is the founding fathers' original intent, “the virtual city.” Second, we need to protect our commercially zoned properties, one of our most precious commodities. Let's explore “economic gardening” and create a symbiotic mix of a myriad of different, unique businesses. Supporting our pro-business initiatives and funding future road projects and transportation maintenance needs should be a high priority. Third, we need to be making every effort to partner with the county, working together with a common goal. It is our fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers who are financially supporting our efforts to keep this city the most efficient, safest and most beautiful city in the state of Colorado.

City Council, District 2:

Theresa Martens

Theresa Martens is a former special education teacher in the Littleton and Englewood school districts. Earlier in her career, she operated a private preschool. The married mother of three is vying for the District 2 council seat held by Sue Bosier, who is term-limited. Martens' opponent in the race is Doris Truhlar. Martens has a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from Metropolitan State College. This is her first run for political office. She has lived in Centennial for 27 years.

Why are you seeking this office?

I want to be sure we are creating an environment that attracts housing and career opportunities to reflect the needs of our college graduate and our senior populations. As we grow we need to prevent our taxes and government from growing as well, ensure our streets and parks stay safe, and guarantee that our citizens have representation, even if all I can do is listen or provide them with a contact. I will look ahead and plan smart with the end in mind to protect your tax dollars. I will not be the candidate of “I don't care.”

What makes you the best person for the job?

I have lived, worked, and raised a family in the Centennial area for the last 27 years. I am passionate about serving the people of Centennial and continuing the vision of a city that people are proud to live in. As a special education teacher I have managed adult teams, am trained in conflict resolution and in planning for the needs of the whole child and believe that these are skills that will benefit the city when working with the other eight council members to provide the best solutions for the diverse needs of the people and businesses of Centennial.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

I believe the most important issue facing Centennial is managing the city's growth and expansion against the growth of costs and the size of government. Many of our streets need repairs while we also have some major expansion issues that are looming. We need to attract new businesses to Centennial with incentives like fewer regulations. We have fiber optics in the ground to make our city more efficient and need to plan with eyes on the future. Technology will play a big part in our efficiency. Forward thinking, creativity, and collaboration will be needed. I have the technology-based background to help facilitate these activities and can help lead the discussions for our city's technological future. I will advocate for the everyday citizen, pick up the phone when they call, and work with the council members to arrive at sensible solutions. Vote for me, Theresa Martens, and I will represent you.

Doris Truhlar

First-time candidate Doris Truhlar is vying for the council seat in District 2 that is currently held by Sue Bosier, who is term-limited. Her opponent in the race is Theresa Martens. Together with her husband, Truhlar runs a Centennial-based law firm. Earlier in her career, the mother of four and Palos Verdes resident worked as a reporter and editor. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and master's and law degrees from the University of Denver. She has lived in Centennial for 30 years.

Why are you seeking this office?

One, serving on council would continue my record of public service, reflected in projects such as the Arapahoe Pro Se Clinic, which I founded 15 years ago (in which I still serve as a volunteer). That program provides free legal services for low-income Arapahoe County residents. Two, I care about Centennial and want to work to ensure its future. Three, it would be interesting. I relish the opportunity, for example, to study and apply my skills to the city's needs in law enforcement, street maintenance, and urban planning. Four, I believe my background is uniquely suited to serving.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I am hard-working, energetic, intelligent, a good listener, and well versed in local government issues. Prior to attending law school (University of Denver), I was a newspaper reporter, and had the opportunity to learn about municipal government. I am a proven leader, having had numerous leadership roles in the legal community (including president of two large associations). Not only have I lived in Centennial for 30 years, but I also own a business (Truhlar and Truhlar, LLP) located in Centennial and District 2. I truly care about the best interest of my city and my district.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

The streets are our lifeline — we all use them and well-maintained streets attract business and make our neighborhoods safer. I believe that fixing the streets that are in disrepair without raising taxes is an issue of utmost importance. The streets that need the most attention are in the older parts of Centennial and some of them actually need replacing, rather than just a new layer of asphalt. Having good streets helps us develop an identity that includes our designation (eight years in a row) as the “safest city in Colorado” and one of the best places to live in the country. I will approach this issue by making streets my “theme” and pushing to replace and repair those streets in need. This will be my continuing commitment and a theme of mine during my term as a councilwoman.

City Council, District 4:

John Tate

John Allen “Jack” Tate, a Piney Creek resident, is running for the District 4 council seat currently held by term-limited Ron Weidmann. Tate has two opponents in the race, William Turner and Charles Whelan. The Nashville native is married with three children and has lived in Centennial for eight years. Tate has a bachelor's degree in engineering from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Colorado-Denver. He is general manager and vice president overseeing a strategic business unit for Littleton-based Investive Building Projects. This is his first run for political office.

Why are you seeking this office?

Pretty simple: an opportunity to give back what I have been fortunate to receive. I love how Centennial is a great place to have a family and enjoy all those intangible benefits of being in a nice community. I have a strong appreciation for how the city runs like a business, with an attitude of customer satisfaction, fiscal responsibility, and investment for the long term. I see an opportunity for me to learn up close how better government works, yet provide my experience and knowledge: reflections based on lessons learned from working with various municipalities, school districts, and state agencies.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I respect my opponents, as they are longtime, valued contributors to the city. As a candidate, I merely have some unique skills to bring to the city as a productive member of council: experience related to analyzing decisions financially, contract negotiations, project management, and investing in infrastructure. More importantly, business associates attest that I possess an evenness and fairness in my interactions. I engage issues with an intellectual curiosity. Working with a CFO one day and then a tradesman the next has inculcated a willingness to interact and listen: a realization that the best ideas often come from the room.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

The most important issue is working toward what is important over the long term while we address what is urgent now. The city must continue to optimize infrastructure, such as important road expansions, high-quality Internet connectivity, and streamlined customer service functions. In 20 years, the city will be larger, with pressure for expanded and/or enhanced services, thus straining revenue. Further, these pressures will expose fault lines along the city's lack of cohesion and some citizens' perception of value. It is an issue of a perpetual fiscal stewardship. My approach is a long view, which emphasizes support for creating, attracting and retaining businesses, and builds upon the city's success factors in promoting an attractive ecosystem for economic development. This requires that city stakeholders understand what we have to offer and be able to present that in an attractive way. I envision an effort to fulfill a tagline for the City of Centennial: The City of Success.

William Turner

William Turner is running for the District 4 council seat currently held by Ron Weidmann, who is term-limited. His opponents in the race are John Allen Tate and Charles Whelan. Turner, an Ohio native, served in the Navy for 21 years and is married with four children. A program security manager for Ball Aerospace, he has a bachelor's degree in behavioral science from Metro State College and is currently pursuing a master's degree in education from Colorado State University. Turner has lived in Centennial for three years. This is his first run for political office.

Why are you seeking this office?

Running for Centennial City Council affords me the opportunity to voice the concerns and represent the interest of the citizens of Centennial and the members of my community. Participating in the decision-making process to assist in securing and maintaining Centennial's competitive advantage through fiscal accountability is very important to me.

What makes you the best person for the job?

One has to be willing to listen effectively to the concerns of the citizens and to put in that extra time and research to achieve positive results. Not being afraid to ask the hard questions nor make the difficult decisions. I'm just that person who is willing to go that extra mile to work hard for the citizens of Centennial and bring a fresh perspective to the table.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

A difficult process is determining one single issue facing Centennial as the most important. Members of city council must first be able to prioritize these matters based on budgetary constraints and at the same time weigh the concerns of its citizens equally. When elected, I would work with other members of council along with the city manager to develop that prioritization focusing on maintaining the city's infrastructure (roads, bridges and transportation); new business development and clientele and foster in the city's demographics.

Charles Whelan

Charles J. “CJ” Whelan is an entrepreneur and small business owner running for the District 4 council seat currently held by Ron Weidmann, who is term-limited. His opponents in the race are William Turner and John Allen Tate. Whelan, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the co-founder and chief technical officer of the teleconferencing services company Adigo. He is maried and has lived in Centennial for 29 years.

Why are you seeking this office?

I deeply believe that government at a local level is what makes the most difference in our day-to-day lives. However, it is the level of government we often think about the least. Public safety (fire protection, police), public works (snow removal, road repair), and planning (what is going to be built next door) are examples of what touches us every day. We just expect these services to be there, and that only happens when a municipality is working well. I want to see Centennial continue to provide its citizens great service that is smart, impactful, and cost effective.

What makes you the best person for the job?

I know Centennial well and have worked hard to make it a great place to live: four years on Centennial's Budget Committee (I know our city's finances inside and out); president of Cunningham Fire Protection District (a publicly elected position); many years as a director on my HOA, and more. I am a longtime small business owner and entrepreneur (www.adigo.com). Other than my college years, I have been a resident of what is now Centennial since 1979. I graduated from Smoky Hill High School and have two degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), electrical engineering and business.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?

The most important issue facing Centennial is our need for continued infrastructure maintenance and development while maintaining financial discipline. As a member of Centennial's Budget Committee, I can say with authority that the city's finances are relatively healthy. However, we have a significant amount of deferred maintenance (e.g. fixing pot-holes). 2013 was the first year in quite some time that the city's annual road maintenance program was “fully funded.” Additionally, there are significant infrastructure improvements needed throughout the city. A great example is the need to widen Arapahoe Road between Waco and Himalaya (i.e. the two-lane section just west of Grandview High.) That stretch of road is dangerous for us and our children, and its widening is long overdue, but it will not be cheap. The only way to get all of this done is to be smart, efficient, and maintain a strong financial discipline with our precious tax dollars.

City Council, District 3:

Mark Gotto

Former Dish Network executive and now full-time, stay-at-home dad Mark Gotto is running unopposed for the District 3 council seat currently held by Rebecca McClelland, who is term-limited. Gotto has a bachelor of science degree from the University of South Dakota and currently serves on the Centennial Open Space Commission. The Iowa native is married with two children. This is his first run for political office. He has lived in Centennial for five years.
 
Why are you seeking this office?
 
I am passionate about the success of the city. I resigned as vice president of DISH Network to stay home with my family. I now can volunteer at Children's Hospital and for the city. Through volunteering I realized I have assets that could help Centennial. I have a strong contract background. I have run large budgets allowing me to ask the right questions when prioritizing the budget. I have a strong communication background. I know how to keep citizens informed. I am running for office because I love our city and have the skill sets needed for continued success.
 
What makes you the best person for the job?
 
On the campaign trail it was apparent that citizens want three characteristics in a councilperson: 1) Know the issues. 2) Be a strong communicator. 3) Have the ability to fix issues. I am an executive that takes the time to fully understand the topic before I make decisions impacting a company or city. I have been in customer service for over 20 years. I know what the expectations are of a customer or citizen when they have a concern. I have a background of improving processes that fix problems. My unique combination of executive experience and city service makes me a strong candidate.
 
What do you think is the most important issue facing Centennial and how will you approach it if elected?
 
I was appointed to the Open Space Commission and represented our HOA at CENCon. Through this service I gained knowledge on what issues are facing Centennial. My top focus area is sustaining economic growth allowing for yearly, targeted investment in city infrastructure. Talking to citizens there is a large concern about deteriorating roads. Paying for these improvements takes increased commercial revenues. Keeping taxes low for an economic development advantage is key. Simplifying the process for new businesses is another key. I am interviewing these businesses to get ideas on how to do this. We have to ask ourselves as a council, “What separates us from other cities around us to attract creative and profitable companies?” I am an advocate to improve your neighborhood's roads. It will be difficult if we cannot continue to be a business-friendly city.