Opinionated @ CFE

Is the Utah County Surveyor's Office to blame for Craig Frank's problems?

Jan
11

What a mess this is. Rep. Craig Frank got a nasty surprise over the weekend when he found out that he doesn’t actually live in the district he was elected to represent. Utah County has kept its mouth shut about the bad maps it had been handing out, the legislature is trying to get a special session to get Rep. Frank re-districted back into his seat, and there’s plenty of blame and finger-pointing going around. I feel a little bit bad for everyone.

The voters are the ones really hosed. As many as 3300 are in electoral limbo now, unsure of who represents them in Congress or the legislature. Rep. Frank also got a raw deal because he bought a house based on the bad Utah County maps and ended up on, quite literally, the wrong side of the street. The Utah County Clerk is trying to figure out how it all went wrong.

In all of it though, nobody is asking why it happened. A big part of it is that the area in question was a whole lot of nothing when boundaries were originally drawn in 2001. Then Cedar Hills incorporated, started annexing bits of county land, houses and roads started going up, and before you know it, where exactly those lines used to be starts getting a bit fuzzy. It’s a lot like trying to establish the ownership of a mortgage after it has changed hands a half dozen times in just a few years.

This is all a job of the county surveyor. So how did that ball get dropped? Is the office understaffed? Are they using poor practices? Is it a case of bad leadership? All roads lead there. The surveyor is required by Utah Code 17-23-1 to hash out such details. We should be asking not just how and why it didn’t get done properly, but how it got messed up to the tune of 3300 voters, a not so insignificant number of people. That’s the question not being asked.

While I appreciate that something needs to be done, Speaker Lockhart’s push to change the boundaries to include Rep. Frank again just doesn’t feel right somehow. (The House GOP Caucus apparently feels the same and voted down a special session to address it.) I know, the voters picked him, he thought he had determined he’d still be eligible for the office, and you can’t really blame either of them. We have to ask ourselves, however, if such a remedy would still be employed if the mistake was discovered, but Rep. Frank was still living inside his district. I would guess probably not.┬áIt also seems kind of rash to make a quick fix now ahead of a redistricting process that refuses to draw an incumbent outside of their district, even if all other reasons say to do so. Such a change now could drastically alter the boundaries of current districts in both houses.

In all, we have a bad situation and no particularly good fixes. I hope that expediency doesn’t win out here.

Paul Rolly Misses the Real Steve Turley Story

Nov
28

Apparently Paul Rolly isn’t as good of a political gossip columnist as he claims to be. On Tuesday, he had a small blurb in his column about animosity between Provo Municipal Council members Steve Turley and Cindy Richards, the latter of which was recently voted out of office in a very dirty smear campaign. What he failed to miss, though, is why Cindy would have a beef with Steve. One of the comments on the story claims that Turley was involved in the StopCindy campaign headed by Utah County Republican Party Chairman Taylor Oldroyd. That would certainly explain why Richards has no desire to be anywhere near Turley and it fits perfectly with his MO.

You see, Steve Turley is an ambitious politician and a bit of an opportunist. I’ve watched the way he calculates and postures for votes, and he does it so that if things go south, he’s covered his bases. During the various votes on the fate of iProvo, he voted No both times knowing that the measures would pass so that if things went south, he could claim to not have been responsible for it. (Think Jim Matheson voting No on issues to cover his bases at home knowing full well that the House as a whole is going to hand out a Yes vote.) It wouldn’t surprise me in the least that he would throw a fellow member of the council under the bus to curry favor with party leadership, no doubt in the hope that he will get party support when (not if) he attempts to go for higher office.

And herein lies the real story: Steve Turley sacrificed Cindy Richards to further his own political career. Maybe Paul Rolly should try writing that one up instead of the meaningless blurb he came up with.

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