In West Bountiful, we’ll know whether complaining about an increase in water rates was successful for a challenger. In Kaysville, we will know whether three candidates running on a “ticket” to change city government had traction. In Bountiful, we will see if the city’s traditional appeal to moderate, mainstream candidates still holds. In Layton, we will see if a candidate appealing to partisan Tea Party backing can edge out an incumbent.
And in Syracuse, we’ll discover whether being a Democrat or a Republican means you are more likely to fix a pothole.
In theory, it shouldn’t matter. City mayors and council representatives run on their merits, not as part of a partisan political party. That has been a Utah tradition.
But the chair of the Davis County Republican Party, Rusty Cannon, believes voters should be aware of party affiliation. In an interview with an Ogden daily newspaper, he suggested that a city councilman who is registered as a Republican is better suited to making fiscally conservative decisions regarding taxes and other public policy. It comes down to “principles,” he says.
I would disagree with him. When I contact my councilman to demand that snow be cleared from my street, I couldn’t care less about his views on abortion or Planned Parenthood. When I enjoy strolling through the city park, I don’t care that the vote to develop it came from a John Kerry supporter or a Ronald Reagan booster.
Yes, a commitment to low taxes is a guiding principle of the Republican Party, just as the effective use of reasonable taxes is a guiding principle of Utah Democrats. I don’t expect my city representative to draw a line in the sand and say “No new taxes at any time – period!” Neither do I want him to charge me an additional $250 a year for unanticipated police protection.
What I want is a guy or gal who makes wise decisions to preserve the quality of life, including recreational opportunities, and professional fire and police protection. I expect my representative to ponder the pros and cons of spending city money or offering tax breaks to recruit new businesses. I want my representative to “bite the bullet” and plan for the future, not defer necessary repairs or cost items for future councils.
I don’t want a city council who feels that they must toe the party line or pander to a political party. They should answer to their city constituents, not a partisan boss.
And as I said before, when the snow falls, I want the roads plowed.
Most of us feel this way. In the last national survey, nearly 90 percent asked for compromise rather than political infighting. With the exception of sexual orientation laws, there are few nationally-debated issues that come before Davis County’s mayors or city councils – and even in Syracuse, I’d bet voters care more about street repair and roaming dogs then they do their mayor or councilman rooting for Hillary.