Vail Town Council candidate Mark Gordon: Experience matters in town government

Mark Gordon
Chris Dillmann | Vail Daily

Who’s running?

Mark Gordon is one of 10 candidates — including three incumbents — running for Vail Town Council. The polling-place election is Nov. 7. The other candidates are:

Jenn Bruno

• Dave Chapin

• Travis Coggin

• Rodney Johnson

Bart Longworth

Greg Moffet

Edward Padilla

• Brian Rodine

Taylor Strickland

Editor’s note: There are 10 candidates this year for four seats on the Vail Town Council. For the next six weekdays, the Vail Daily is publishing a profile of each candidate. Profiles are being published in no particular order.

VAIL — Mark Gordon came to Vail as a guest and moved to town as a renter. Now a homeowner and family man, he believes his evolution in town makes him a good choice for Vail Town Council.

At Christiania Real Estate, Gordon works every day with both full-time residents and second-home owners.

“I understand all the different constituencies that make up Vail,” Gordon said. And, he added, those constituencies want many of the same things: “Vitality, sustainability, a place they can escape (the outside world) and the best event menu in the world.”

After coming to Vail as a visitor, Gordon moved to Vail from Louisville, Kentucky, where he was working in the corporate world.

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“It was a mid-life crisis,” he said. “And Vail Resorts offered me $11 an hour to come work for them. How could I refuse?”

Gordon ran for his first Vail Town Council term in 2005. He served four years but failed to earn a second term in 2009.

The public service bug

In the years since that council term, Gordon has served on the Vail Commission on Special Events — he’s still a member — as well as the Vail Economic Advisory Council. He’s also president of the B’nai Vail board of directors and serves on the Bravo! Vail Music Festival board of directors.

But it was his time on council that Gordon believes was the most “personally rewarding” of his public-service experience.

That council stint saw the town launch an initiative called “Vail 2020,” which sought community input on what the town should look like 14 years in the future. Gordon believes it’s time to launch another, similar initiative.

While Gordon believes the current council does a good job of listening to residents, he believes it’s time to create a new citizens’ advisory panel to the council, something like the Vail Economic Advisory Committee. That group would have between 20 and 30 members, including a couple of sitting council members. Membership would also include second-home owners, first-season resort employees and everyone between.

With a combination of presentations about issues and give-and-take between members, Gordon believes that group could become “not just a place to learn, but to have a true effect.”

The fact that 10 people decided to run for council this year shows the need for such a group, Gordon said.

A different renewal

Gordon was a member of the council involved in Vail’s “Billion-Dollar Renewal,” which revamped the resort areas of town. In the past few years, the council has leaned more toward housing efforts, from the Lions Ridge apartments to the Chamonix townhomes. The council also last year approved the Vail 2027 housing plan. That plan, a creation of the Vail Local Housing Authority, seeks to add 1,000 deed-restricted units to town through a combination of construction and the purchase of deed restrictions from willing sellers.

Gordon is a fan of the plan and said it’s evidence of the kind of thinking that Vail is known for.

“Vail has always set huge goals, and the naysayers say there’s no way,” Gordon said. “We have a way of making impossible goals work.”

If elected this year, then Gordon said he hopes the next two or four years bring improved housing in town and other initiatives, including putting more solar panels on the roofs in town.

Given the area’s abundant sunshine, Gordon said there should be “a lot more” panels on roofs in town.

With sustainability and other initiatives, Gordon said, “We want (people) to feel that we know as a town what direction we’re going and have buy-in from the vast majority.”

That buy-in includes an expected set of regulations regarding short-term rentals in town.

Vail is a tourist destination, Gordon said, and homebuyers have always rented their units to visitors.

“That said, if we find problems, we need to add regulations,” Gordon said. “We should explore ways to stop the most egregious problems.”

That’s going to require leadership from the council, Gordon said. And, he added, that’s something Vail has never lacked.

“It’s important that the leadership stay incredible,” he said. “The way for that to happen is to engage the people who care about Vail.”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, or @scottnmiller.

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