Friday, January 25, 2008

What is a City Council Seat worth?

Woods Cross had three seats on the City Council up for election last November. I decided to see how much the candidates thought they should spend to get elected to the City Council. I put in a GRAMA request for the Campaign Finance Reports for all City Council Candidates for November's Municipal election. Utah State Code says, "A governmental entity may fulfill a record request without charge and is encouraged to do so when it determines that releasing the record primarily benefits the public rather than a person." (see 63-2-203 here) I guess Woods Cross City believes that releasing this record doesn't benefit the public since they charged me 90 cents for this information. I was happy to pay this amount so that I could bring this information to the public. I will highlight some of the most fascinating parts of the reports.

I will list them in order of amount spent.

  • Jill Hadley Evans spent the most at $2,074.79. The single largest expense she encountered was $1,028.95 spent at "Shades of Gray Communication" in Salt Lake City. According to her report, she spent only $133.20 of her own money. She listed her parents, Jay and Jan Hadley, as contributing $1,691.59 to her campaign. She also received a $250.00 contribution from Menlove Toyota. Result? She was elected to a four-year term.

  • Gary Sharp was next in line spending $1,428.97. His single largest expense was $732.19 to "Designs and Signs" located here in Woods Cross. He also listed expenses for his campaign website. Gary received an in kind contribution from I4 Solutions also in Woods Cross. Other contributions listed in his report are $250.00 from Greene's Inc. and $50.00 each from Glen Jenkins of Woods Cross and Marva Thomas of St. George. Result? Was not elected to the city council.

  • Rick Earnshaw had the least detailed financial report of all the candidates. He listed spending $800.00 on his campaign with all of it being given to the Woods Cross High School Swim Team, which his wife is the coach of. He only listed one contribution for the amount of $500.00 from Menlove Toyota. Result? Re-elected to a four-year term.

  • David Hill reported spending $587.16 on his successful campaign. The single biggest expense listed on his report was to the US Postal Service for $325.00. He also reported spending $105.07 at "Sign Makers" in Salt Lake City. He listed two contributions of $50.00 each from Glen Jenkins of Woods Cross and Former Mayor Jerry Larrabee. Result? Elected to a four-year term.

  • Ryan Westergard reported spending $155.24 on his campaign with $141.36 of that going to "Print Xpress" in Salt Lake City. He reported receiving no contributions to his campaign. Result? He was not elected to the City Council.

  • Cory Green makes me wonder if Woods Cross City didn't provide me with all of the campaign finance reports. His report shows that he only spent $87.45 on his campaign with all of it going to "Focus Services" of Roy. This expense would be for a recorded message that he had sent to phones just prior to the election. His report shows no expenses for signs although he had many throughout the city. This is what makes me wonder if Woods Cross City didn't provide me with all of the campaign finance reports as my GRAMA request asked for. Result? Cory was also not elected to the City Council.
It'd be interesting to compare these reports with previous campaign reports. I suspect that this campaign was one of the most expensive for Woods Cross City Council seats.

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