Candidate profile: Josie Kovash

Note: Josie Kovash has withdrawn from the 2019 race for Moab City Council.

Josie Kovash is KZMU’s music director and also works as a bartender, musician and board member of Moab’s Resiliency Hub, a nonprofit that serves to promote “creative reuse, upcycling and holistic sustainability,” according to the organization’s Facebook page.

She has worked in Moab for over 10 years, including involvement with WabiSabi, the Moab Multicultural Center, Outward Bound and AmeriCorps, alongside a “variety” of other nonprofits.

Kovash said that, if elected, she might give up bartending (although, according to her, it is “far more lucrative”) to spend more hours on the job of being a council member, but she plans to otherwise “stay involved,” including with the Resiliency Hub.

She is and has been a supporter of PAD, and she said she recognized the divisiveness of including the R2 zone in the plan.

Kovash said she was “frustrated that there wasn’t constructive dialogue” over what could be done to refactor PAD to be more compatible with R2. She said she hoped for more “compromise” to expand affordable housing opportunities in R2.

She said she was also in support of proposed health benefits for city council members and that she would support a raise for the council on top of that, something she said is “overdue.” She said the current rate of pay for council members is more like a “stipend” than a salary. “By increasing pay, we are bringing in more people who can serve,” Kovash told The Times-Independent.

On the topic of regulating lodging in Moab, Kovash said that she was in favor of the fifth option offered by Landmark Design, the planning contractor drafting ordinances for the city and county that will govern future regulations of lodging. Their fifth option, titled “No Growth,” would disallow any new lodging development applications.

Kovash said that, without more “diversity” of business operations in Moab, increasing visitation would overwhelm existing operations, leading to lower-quality visits and depleted supply of resources like water and civic services.

“The tour bus mode [of tourism] that is taking off in Moab is not necessarily something I want to see continue in this community,” Kovash said.

Kovash said one of her main goals as a council member would be to work toward finding and holding on to “what makes us whole,” saying that it was not merely tourism that defined the Moab community.