Lehi City Council 2011 Candidates

In the past I have most written about national politics and broad-reaching social issues. I have a neighbor running for city councilman here in Lehi, Utah, so I thought this is a good time to get into a little local politics. Earlier this week I attended a Lehi City Council “Meet the Candidates” night. I spoke with several of the candidates and picked up literature for others. The primary election is next Tuesday, September 13, so below is some research and analysis on the candidates that I have conducted in my effort to determine who I will vote for. Honestly, it will be a hard decision, as all of these candidates seem good, honest, and capable. The primary election is Tuesday, September 13th. Find more Lehi city voting information here.

Paul Hancock

Paul is a BYU grad and has experience working in big corporations (Intel) and in small business (he started his own company in 2007). Paul, on his website, brings up some good points with regard to the large Lehi population under the age of 18 and the need for the city to work more closely with the school board. Paul also makes some good points about Lehi’s astounding population growth and the need stays ahead of the curve when it comes to public services  of Fire, Police, and Parks (though I’m surprised he doesn’t mention infrastructure like roads). Paul is opposed to both ballot initiatives, Initiative 1 would cap salaries, and Initiative 2 would impose residency requirements. I think I’d have to agree with him on both counts as these would hinder hiring the best people in a competitive job market. Paul also led an effort to petition the school board to expedite the building of a local elementary school in Traverse Mountain. Paul seems like he would be a nice addition to the city council.

Ted J. Peck

Ted is a retired salesman and business owner, and, according to Ted’s website, he now has the time and desire to serve on the city council. Ted was born and raised in Lehi, but he claims to be an outsider to Lehi City politics and that he is opposed to career politicians. I’d have to agree with him there as I feel career politicians tend to become corrupt and lose their focus on what is right. Ted claims to be a fiscal conservative and wants to reduce the City’s cost of doing business. He is an active member of the LDS Church, and is a substitute LDS Seminary teacher. Ted supports keeping taxes and fees for services and permits low, and his thoughts on the problems with the main street renovation also make a lot of sense.

R. Curtis Payne

Curtis is a small business owner and BYU grad. According to his flier, he supports “property rights” and that’s good, as I feel private property rights have been under attack in our country for some time. I like his philosophy on government, he believes in “smaller government” and that the main purposes of government are 1) protection: police, military, etc., and 2) public resources: roads, sewers, electricity, etc. Curtis believes the city should be run as “business-profitable” which I take to mean it should live within its means. Here’s Curtis’ website.

Chris Condie

In the spirit of full disclosure, Chris is my neighbor and I think he would make a great addition to the city council. Chris is a native Utahn, and moved with his wife and four children to Lehi in 2007. He served an LDS mission to Boston Mission, and actively serves in callings in the LDS Church. Chris has a plan to work strategically with Alpine School District to ensure that Lehi provides a great education to all children. Chris also has plans to improve the city appearance by encouraging residents to participate in maintaining their communities. Check out Chris’ website.

Mary Eka

Mary’s parents are from Africa, but she was born in Michigan. Mary spent most of her youth in Africa, but came back to the United States as a young adult. She is one semester away from her college degree and she is an Internet entrepreneur. Mary has some interesting ideas about improving the literacy center and providing workforce training for youth and young adults. She also wants to “create volunteer programs within the community to tutor, mentor, and be role model for youths.”Like most of the other candidates’ materials, Mary’s website has a lot of vague ideals, but I like what she says on easing the tax burden, improving the local library, beautification of our parks, and a website to make city decisions more transparent. Here is Mary’s website.

James A. Dixon

James has been on the Lehi Planning Commissioner for four years, with the last two years as chairman. James is also opposed to both ballot initiatives, points on which I agree with him. I like his stance on economic development and he claims to have a good record in creating a friendly business environment for many of the big employers in the city. Like many of the other candidates, James is very supportive of the police, fire, and parks departments. My only concern with James is that he is running for re-election, and I’d like to see some new people with a fresh perspective on the city council. Here is James’ website.

Mike Southwick

Mike’s flier was brief, but he seems like a nice fellow, and I’m sure he would be a capable city councilman. Mike is a lifelong Lehi resident and has served in many capacities. He has been a volunteer fireman, an LDS bishop, and has had much involvement with the Boy Scouts. His platform consists of efforts to bring more commercial and industrial businesses to Lehi., improving parks, updated city services, and fiscal responsibility.

Reldon Barnes

Reldon didn’t make the best impression on me personally, but his wife seemed very friendly and outgoing. His motto is “straight talk, no nonsense” and I believe it. The question is: where does he stand on the issues and do we agree? And to answer that, I don’t believe I have enough information. His flier contains primarily platitudes which would be hard for anyone to disagree with, but which come be interpreted to mean just about anything anyone wants.

Clint Carter

Clint was born and raised in Lehi, and I’m not sure if that is a plus or a minus. The last thing our city needs is good-old-boy cronyism. Clint has been a firefighter and EMT for years, which is a plus, but he has also been a city building official for 22 years. I am a fan of term limits and getting new blood in political office frequently, and I’m concerned that he has been too involved in the city for too long. His flier was vague on details, though I did like his statement that he is “committed to involve all outlying areas of the city, not just the heart of the city.” Clint’s website.

Mark I. Johnson

Mark has some good things going for him, and there are some aspects about him that concern me. Throughout his flier, he makes several mentions of “no hidden agenda” and no allegiance to “special interest groups.” This tends to make me wonder if he might have a hidden agenda or if he is beholden to special interest groups. He mentions that he works for a municipal government consulting company, and I can’t help but wonder if there are any conflicts of interests there. I also have concerns around his view on government spending as he makes several efforts to brag about his ability to acquire funding. In my view, being an elected leader is not a contest to see who can get control of the most tax dollars. Regardless, I do like his key issues that he says he will promote over the next four years, some of which are revitalizing downtown, developing fire stations and emergency services, and improving the city transportation network.  But given my concerns above, and the fact that I’d rather see new faces in the councilman seats, I’m thinking that I would rather not re-elect Mark Johnson.