Saturday, November 03, 2007

Choose the bottom three, vote for the others?

On Thursday the Davis County Clipper published what they called "Your guide to the November 6 elections." This article is not in their on-line edition. In this article they asked each candidate for Woods Cross City Council three questions.
1) What are your top three priorities?
2) What is your position on the RAP tax?
3) Do you support the transportation tax?

Unfortunately this piece left me with more questions than answers. I'll go over my thoughts on each candidate's responses and maybe at the end of it all, I will have figured out who to vote for. I will list them in the same order that they appeared in the Clipper article.

Rick Earnshaw - It would seem to me that Rick can't count. He listed several items in his answer to the "three top priorities." He's for curbside recycling, broadband (though he doesn't say UTOPIA), as well as better safe and diverse transportation (whatever that means). He also states that we need to insure economic growth and "above all, continue to make Woods Cross a safe, united and healthy place to live." I hope by united, he doesn't mean that we all have to agree. As you know, if you've read previous posts, I'm against forced curbside recycling. Rick is for the RAP tax and against the 1/4 cent sales tax for transportation.

Jill Hadley Evans - She also seems to have trouble counting, but, her problem seems to be that she can't count to three. I only counted two items that she lists as priorities. She wants to grow the sales tax base by encouraging businesses to locate here. She is also concerned about traffic congestion.
The most troubling thing to me about Jill's answers is that she says that she is for the RAP tax because "the increase is minimal and will be for a good cause." She also says that the RAP tax won't affect Woods Cross as much because we don't have any grocery stores in our city. She does realize that the tax will be on other items that are sold as well, doesn't she? Last time I checked, we have a few car dealerships in our city that would be affected by this tax. All our residents go to grocery stores and shop, don't they? I don't see how "this doesn't impact us directly." She also goes on to say that she is against the transportation tax because "we have had enough tax increases recently." So which is it Jill? I would say if you are against one tax because "we have had enough tax increases," then you shouldn't be for another tax increase because it's "increase is minimal."

Cory Green - He can at least count to three. His top three priorities: 1) Limiting Heavy Industrial uses in our city. 2) Striving for economic growth. 3) Fully fund the Woods Cross Police Department.
He is for the RAP tax because he feels the impact is small and would help several local issues. He is against the transportation tax because he'd "like to see on paper just how much funding Woods Cross would see."

David C. Hill - His top three priorities: 1) Impact of Legacy Parkway and how that gateway into our city is developed. 2) Providing services to a level we have come to expect. 3) Plan how the residential, commercial and industrial areas come together.
From the article it is hard for me to tell if he is for or against the RAP tax. He says he is for increasing our arts and recreation programs, but, is not sure that the RAP tax is the best way to fund that. Is that the political way of saying "I'm against it?" I'll assume it is. On the transportation tax issue, he says he is "not comfortable with the sales tax increase." Again I'll assume that's a vote against.

Gary Sharp - His three priorities: 1) Actively manage growth and it's impact. 2) Improve traffic flow on 500 South, 1500 South and 2600 South. 3) Encourage new commercial development along Redwood Road and 500 South. He's against both the RAP tax and transportation tax.
One issue that I strongly disagree with Gary on is his position on sending council members and the mayor to Washington D.C. According to his website, he doesn't have a problem with spending $18,000.00 per year to send the entire council and the mayor to Washington D.C. every year for the National League of Cities conference. I have been to this conference myself, and I feel that the city could gain the same benefits by sending just two people to this conference. That would only cost the city about $6,000.00 per year. Also from his website, he is against funding a UTOPIA feasibility study this year. So he's for $18,000.00 to take a trip, but against $15,000.00 for a feasibility study? Sounds to me like he wants to go to D.C.

Ryan Westergard - His three priorities: 1) Future Growth 2) Environmental Issues 3) Traffic Safety.
Ryan is for the RAP tax because of "the additional cultural and recreational opportunities for our community." He's against the transportation tax because he feels it "is of limited benefit to South Davis County."

Now I feel more confused then ever. My top issues are UTOPIA, commercially developing the area around the new 500 South and Legacy Parkway interchange, and managing how residential, commercial, and industrial areas come together. I'm against the RAP tax and the transportation tax. We already increased our property taxes just a few years ago to pay for the new South Davis Recreation Center. To me that amounts to a "recreation" tax. We also pay more for our car registration to pay for corridor preservation, which is the same thing that the new transportation tax is to go for.

As you can see my opinions don't match up with anyone. As you know from a previous post, I'm against Jill Hadley Evans. I strongly disagree with Gary Sharp on the National League of Cities conference issue. I also feel like Rick Earnshaw has been involved in city politics for too long now. I feel if you can't accomplish everything that you wanted to get done after being on the council for more than 12 years, it's time to step aside and give somebody else a chance. I guess that would be my bottom three.

1 comment:

Gary Sharp said...

You have missed the point on these two issues (UTOPIA and National League of Cities Conference). Perhaps, I have not made myself clear on these two subjects. The city council has to prioritize spending every year. That is why we elect a council, to set priorities and make the tough decisions of what to fund and more importantly what not to fund.

The 2008 fiscal year budget has been set and has only funding for two from the city to attend the National League of Cities conference. I would only support sending more than two from the city to the conference in 2008 if the city the revenue is much greater than expected. In the future, the city council will need to determine how many to send to this conference based on their priorities from the city budget.

I am in favor of spending the $15,000 for the UTOPIA feasibility study, if possible in the 2008 budget. Given what I now understand, I will work to fund the study in the 2009 fiscal budget if we cannot fund the study from the 2008 budget. This position is on my website. I would prefer to fund the UTOPIA feasibility study over sending more members of the council the National League of Cities conference in this (2008) fiscal year.

As to “Sounds to me like he wants to go to D.C.,” if that was my goal, it would be cheaper and easier to go on my own rather than running for city council.