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2019 City Council Candidate Audio and Notes

On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the American Fork Chamber of Commerce hosted a meet-the-candidates event for the American Fork City Council race. As usual, of late, it was in a meeting room at American Fork Hospital. This post presents audio recordings from that event — one question at a time, to be easily digestable — and adds some notes from another event a week later, on October 9, at the American Fork Library.

Roll Call

There are five candidates in this year’s city council race, for three available seats. Daniel Copper initially filed as a candidate but withdrew, so his name will not be on the ballot.

Two of the five were physically present, incumbents Kevin Barnes and Rob Shelton. Incumbent Clark Taylor called in from Hawaii, which seemed to work fine, except for a couple of brief delays when it was his turn to speak and he’d left his phone on mute.

Challenger Kyle Barratt was with family in Louisiana, on a trip that was planned last spring, long before the filing period for this year’s election. He sent a brief statement to be read at the event, which is the second item below, and he added some discussion on social media.

Challenger Jeff Shorter did not attend the event. He apparently alerted the organizers that he would be absent and apologized, but I heard no explanation, and he sent no written statement.

Josh Walker of the American Fork Chamber of Commerce emceed the event, and Troy Phelon moderated the discussion.

Not counting people I’ve already named, about 30 people attended the event, including the two members of the city council who are not up for reelection this year, Staci Carroll and Barbara Christiansen. There was a live video on Facebook; I have no metrics from that.

There were lots of Crumbl cookies.

The audio that follows is nearly complete. I’ve edited out some noise, some chatter about emergency exits and restrooms … and very little else. It’s also a bit raw. If you geek out on such things, you may care that I did some noise reduction and some compression to normalize audio levels.

Here I must add a mea culpa. Photograpy didn’t even cross my mind until after the event, when it was too late. So I’ve included below photos from previous races of the four candidates who participated in some way, in person or remotely. Perhaps they all look a bit older now. There’s also a photo from Hawaii, which probably doesn’t help you much.

About the Event (A Quick Opinion)

(Skip this part if you don’t want opinion here.) Given that only the three incumbents were actually participating, I’m not sure how useful this event will be to voters who are trying to decide who gets their three votes. (Perhaps some might draw conclusions about a candidate who doesn’t show enough interest in the campaign or the voters either to show up or send a statement.) But you’ll likely find this evening insightful at least in terms of learning about a number of issues and seeing how the current council wrestles with them — and how well they work together.

Questions and Answers

1. Introduction

Josh Walker opens the event.

2. Kyle Barratt Statement

Josh Walker reads Kyle Barratt’s written statement.

Kyle Barratt
Kyle Barratt

3. Moderator on Format

Josh Walker introduces moderator Joe Phelon, and Joe talked about the format.

4. Opening Statements

Order: Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor

kevin barnes
Councilman Kevin Barnes

5. Do you supporting installing the fiber optic system in the city? Should the residents vote on fiber? Why or why not?

Order: Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes

Note that item 10 below is also about the fiber proposal.

Rob Shelton
Councilman Rob Shelton

6. The PARC tax will come back to the voters in 2023. Do you support the continuation of the PARC tax? How would you like to see it used in the future, if renewed?

Order: Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton

Clark Taylor
Councilman Clark Taylor

7. As a current member of the city council, what do you see as your signature accomplishment?

Order: Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor

8. Do you support the new fire station? If so, where is the money for ongoing equipment, wages, and benefits coming from?

Order: Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes

9. What you going to do to represent the people who disagreed with you and didn’t vote for you?

Order: Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton

10. Do you have any reservations moving forward with the fiber, and if so, what are those?

Order: Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor

Note that the evening’s discussion of fiber began with item 5 above.

11. About growth — what measures are being taken or planned to provide sufficient infrastructure so that the quality of life we’ve enjoyed up to this point isn’t diminished?

Order: Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes

12. Address affordable housing in the city. What would you like to see done?

Order: Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton

13. Do you have any plans to improve or upgrade the fitness center, and if so, how will you fund it?

Order: Kevin Barnes – Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor

14. Closing Statements

Order: Rob Shelton – Clark Taylor – Kevin Barnes

15. Moderator and Host

Troy Phelan and Josh Christensen wind up the event.

That Other Event

One week later, there was another candidate event at the American Fork Library‘s large conference room, sponsored by the City. It was entirely informal, with nothing for me to record. Candidates stood around and talked with any voters who walked in, and sometimes with each other.

In this case, we had four of the five candidates, Jeff Shorter being absent and unaccounted for.

Perhaps 15 residents came and stayed for at least part of the 75 or so minutes of the event.

I enjoyed not only talking with candidates about various issues, but also listening to different combinations of them discuss things among themselves.

All in all, it was friendly, low-key, and interesting, and I regretted the low attendance.

Related Discussion

See also John Mulholland’s report on his interviews with American Fork City Council candidates.

1 Comment

  1. Ann Pulley

    Thank you for posting this as I did not hear about the original event. It was helpful.