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.