Opinionated @ CFE

GOP Primary Endorsement: Mike Winder for Salt Lake County Mayor

Jun
02

I like elections where the choice is obvious. Elections with less-obvious choices, however, really are frustrating. You’re sometimes forced to pick between two good candidates, and you often feel like you’re doing a disservice by leaving one of them behind. That’s the position I find myself in with the race for Salt Lake County Mayor.

The biggest problem is that I can’t make this decision exclusively issue-based. Both Mike Winder and Mark Crockett are following the course that the county needs to scale back and devolve control to cities. In particular, they’re both accepting the reality that Millcreek will soon either incorporate or be annexed leaving the county without much of a tax base at all. Smaller townships like Magna, Kearns, and White City (where I live) in the position of incorporating, being annexed, seeing large tax increases, or getting a sharp decrease in services. Independent of this, both would like to see the county scale back further since it largely failed to do so as other cities incorporated over the last 20 years.

This means it comes down to a matter of what methods and styles the candidates would use to accomplish these ends. Both candidates are focusing on a bottom-up style of governance, pulling input from the cities and remaining townships before making any decisions. While I like Mark Crockett’s data-driven approach, I think that Mike Winder has better established relationships with local government leaders that will allow him to better execute this vision. He also very clearly understands the difference between what various levels of government should do, a very Jeffersonian view that I can get behind.

Some people will hand-wring about choosing Winder to go up against the charismatic, capable, and all-around good guy Ben McAdams. Almost all of the concern swirls around the Richard Burwash incident and any potential impacts on electability. To be honest, I think those concerns are largely overblown. I listened to Mike as he responded to someone asking him about it, and his response indicates both that he recognizes how poor the decision was and that he learned from it. Taking ownership of your failings is a highly admirable quality in a leader, and I think it represents a strength, not a weakness.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting Mike Winder for Salt Lake County Mayor.

GOP Primary Endorsement: John Dougall for Auditor

Jun
02

You all know that guy at work. He comes in on time, leaves on time, does his work, but never really seems to stand out. He’s been in the same position for years, never really excelling, but also never really doing bad work either. He’s comfortable to a fault, not really willing to look at existing processes to see if they need to be shaken up, but mainly because he’s been there for so long that he’s dependent on them as a kind of security blanket. Unfortunately, I think current Auditor Auston Johnson is that guy. He’s not doing bad work (and I don’t mean to make personal insults), but he’s not really making the office of Auditor stand out all that much either. Unfortunately, his job (much like a county surveyor) is so dull that nobody thinks to ask “is this all this office could be doing?” John Dougall, however, is willing to ask that question.

Some people are concerned about him using the office in a biased fashion. Let me relate to you a personal story. I remember the first time I met him. It was way back in 2006, and I had just learned about UTOPIA. They weren’t able to build in unincorporated county areas, and I wanted to see if something could be done to change that. (I live in an unincorporated township.) I contacted then-Rep. Dougall (he was the head of the appropriate committee) and asked if I could have some time to speak about it. Despite not being on the agenda, he gave me time to speak. He even helped me clarify what my intention was in speaking. He did all of this despite disagreeing with UTOPIA’s existence. He gave me the fairest shake any legislator could have given some schmoe citizen who’s never been to a committee hearing in his life.

Since that time, I’ve watched John approach things in a very data-driven manner, always willing to hear things out and do his own research before proposing a course of action. Does he have a particular bent on his approaches? Absolutely. Everyone does even if they would talk themselves blue in the face trying to convince you otherwise. I have full confidence, however, that he will be fair and honest in everything he does, and he’ll inject some fresh new vigor into an office that seems to have found itself in a very comfortable rut. I hope you’ll join me in supporting John Dougall for Auditor.

I Support Fair Boundaries

Sep
26

It’s no secret that district boundaries for elective office are often drawn in creative ways. Districts are often made to favor a particular political party or candidate with little regard for the identity of the voters in the district. All too often, neighborhoods are divided up or dissimilar neighborhoods lumped together to satisfy one of these needs. It has become particularly egregious in Utah with Tooele County divided up into four chunks for its State Senate district and Salt Lake County split three ways for purposes of creating US House districts. Rural areas get drowned out by being paired up with a significant urban population. This kind of abusive redistricting cannot continue.

We can, however, find problems with proposed solutions to these issues. All too often, the response is drafted by and spearheaded by a minority party in an attempt to grab hold of more electoral power behind a mask of fairness. I took the time today to read through the Fair Boundaries initiative to make sure that it addresses this problem in a logical and truly non-partisan fashion. I’m glad to report that its emphasis on drawing districts by neighborhood and geography with an emphasis on compactness not only makes sense, it appears to be free of any partisan influence.

I support the Fair Boundaries initiative and I hope you will too.

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