I’ve been so busy with work that I almost forgot about last night’s hearing before the regular American Fork City Council meeting, about the possibility of bonding to build a citywide fiber optic utility. (LightHub Fiber is the name to remember.) Someone mentioned it the night before, or I’d have missed it.
I thought I should put in my two minutes’ worth, since that’s how much time each person is allotted. I was one of eight who spoke. Five were in favor of the proposed utility. Three were opposed, including a controversial Kaysville city councilman, Dave Adams, the only one who had to be reminded of the time limit.
I expected that other proponents would speak about the benefits, but I’ve said quite a bit about those already, so I decided to go in another direction. Perhaps it was an unusual direction. Kinda felt that way.
“Mayor Frost, members of the council, my name is David Rodeback. I’m a 21-year resident of American Fork. I support the proposal.
“At first I was profoundly skeptical. Gradually, over about six hours of listening to experts, asking every question I and a few others could come up with, and raising all my concerns, I changed my mind. I now believe that this proposed new infrastructure will be a very good thing for American Fork, especially in the long term.
“But it’s still not a no-brainer. There are fiscal, economic, technical, political, administrative, legal, and even philosophical considerations, and they don’t all cut the same way, at least for me.
“I don’t know which way each of you will vote in the end. But I’m grateful to you for doing your job as our elected representatives, rather than trying to pass the buck to the voters, most of whom would go to the polls having studied, discussed, and questioned this matter far less than you have, and with a narrower vision than yours of both the present and the future of this city. I have more faith in representative government than I have in direct democracy, especially in complex matters.
“You must know, based on local history if nothing else, that however you vote, some residents will disparage your character, your intelligence, and your motives, both immediately and for years to come. It’s not admirable or honorable, but it happens. Thank you for being willing to endure that on our behalf.
“Thank you for allowing city residents several months to learn about this proposal and communicate our thoughts to you. Thank you for weighing the input and insights of experts and of informed and concerned residents. I confess that I am somewhat in awe of a city council who will publicly consider such a proposal in an election year, simply because now is when it needs to be considered. I believe that demonstrates, for those who have eyes to see, that you value the long-term welfare of this city above political convenience.
Given another half-minute, I might have listed some things people have called our city councilors in the past few days, including (but not limited to) liars and scoundrels, corrupt and self-serving, and indifferent to the welfare of residents. They’ve been accused of having secret agendas, making backroom deals, wanting nothing more than to grow government and increase taxes without limit, and of trying to hide important pieces of (and flaws in) the proposal, so the public won’t find out in time to object, if we ever find out at all.
It’s the typical set of assumptions when government is involved and we can’t trouble ourselves to find out what’s really going on. If there’s no smoke, they must be hiding it from us, because there’s always fire, right?
It’s easy for good and otherwise kind people to succumb to such prejudices and stereotypes, when they don’t know our city councilors, haven’t discussed issues with them over the years, and haven’t been watching them work. For my part, I have far more faith in the current American Fork City Council on a bad day than I have in the Utah Legislature and the United States Congress combined on an uncommonly good day. More to the point, I don’t think any of the charges is true — and to accuse the City of trying to keep the proposal secret is risible. (Risible is a good George Will word, which I try to use once or twice a year, like quotidian and vagaries. If you think this post is going off the rails now, just wait.)
Where the fiber proposal is concerned, I could also have mentioned that there may be theological considerations too, among all the other kinds I listed. I have been informed that the fiber proposal is in opposition to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and (by someone else) that it is part of Satan’s Plan. I think we must conclude that American Fork is still located in Utah.
Tangential full disclosure: I voted for Satan (serious link) and spoke in his defense at a Utah County Republican Convention, back when I was a Republican. I was prepared to vote for him at a convention before that (fun link), but the vote didn’t occur, due to the lack of a quorum. (I wasn’t kicked out of the party for supporting Satan. I left it voluntarily for other reasons.)
Now, where were those rails? Oh, yes …
Thanks for reading. I had fun. If you haven’t read my more substantive blog posts on the proposed fiber optic utility (what’s proposed, expected benefits, reasons to oppose it and my responses), start here.