On the subject of whether or not to build a new city hall, there has been a consistent message put forth by Mayor Lewis and the city council that the Better Bountiful group is just a squeaky wheel and that they are not necessarily representative of Bountiful city residents. Although I felt strongly that was not true, I didn't really know for sure. I mean really, how could someone really know how the majority of residents feel about this matter? Up until early December, I did not know. But boy do I know now.
I was one who spent countless hours going door to door through various Bountiful city neighborhoods. I personally knocked on hundreds of doors presenting the referendum to residents for their signature. I even took a neutral stance on the matter and simply told those I spoke to that the referendum wasn’t to vote for or against the city hall, but was to simply provide residents the opportunity to vote yes or no on the idea. It is no longer only my opinion that residents are against the idea of spending $15M+ on a new city hall. I now know for sure that the majority of Bountiful residents are against the idea.
Of the hundreds of signatures I gathered, I only met one person who was actually in favor of the idea (and ironically that person wouldn’t sign). Roughly 99 percent of those I presented the petition to didn’t just sign their name in favor of referring the matter to voters, rather, they spoke of their frustration with our city leader's decision and thanked me for taking the time to do what I was doing. It was a great experience for me and solidified what had previously only been an opinion on the matter.
Gathering signatures was not a difficult thing. Residents were anxious to have their voice heard and to have the opportunity to vote. There were many not associated with the Better Bountiful group who came out of the woodwork to help gather signatures. On a matter as big as this one, Bountiful residents should have the right to vote. They certainly did their best to let their voices be heard through emails to council members and attendance to meetings. Given the city council’s unanimous decision to proceed, it is clear they didn't hear. Paying attention to the thousands of residents’ signatures gathered in a very short time would be the right thing for our council to do and I for one sincerely hope they will do so.
Lastly, and on a personal note, may I say that my involvement in the Better Bountiful group has been fantastic. I couldn't be more proud to be associated with such a great, fast growing group of people. There have been attempts by the Mayor and council members to publicly question and discredit Dean Collinwood and others I have been working with. This is deeply concerning to me and is indicative of a culture that must change from one of being closed and autocratic, to one of openness with more public involvement. Thank goodness there are citizens who care enough about accountability and sound fiscal principals to give countless hours of their personal time and energy to such a great cause. I look forward to my ongoing involvement in this group that started out with a dozen and now represents thousands.