After attending the meet the candidates event at the senior citizens’ center, to me they divided into three groups of three candidates.Continue reading
This is the post where I tell you what I think of our current American Fork City Council candidates and how I plan to vote in next Tuesday’s primary election. I get three votes; there are three council seats up for election this year. The primary will narrow the field to six for the general election in late November. The terms are four years, beginning in January.
Please note: If you visit this site for information only and prefer to avoid opinion, as some readers do, you’ll want to avoid this post. If you feel that all of our political discourse should be sweetness and light, you’ll want to avoid this post. But I’ll be as positive as I can.
I know some candidates fairly well, but others I didn’t know at all, except their names, until about a week and a half ago. I got a late start this year, and the best I can do is tell you what I think so far. In some cases information we’ve published here, plus my conversations at last Monday’s candidate open house, constitute all I know.
(Links anchored to candidates names below point to posts with their answers to one or more of my questions. See also John Mulholland’s report of his interviews with most of the candidates.)Continue reading
I mostly kept my own views out of the several previous posts in which I reported my one-on-one interviews with all five members of the American Fork City Council. But perhaps you’ll indulge some personal thoughts as we conclude.
I’ve observed and worked in politics and government at the local, state, and national levels since childhood, and I studied government in an academic setting for years. Whether or not I was inherently so at the beginning, I became cynical and skeptical. At the same time, I remain idealistic enough to hope for better than we often see in some contexts, and, yes, to be misled by the occasional politician, at least for a while.
A Jeffersonian Virtue
That said, these interviews increased my existing sense that there is a sort of Jeffersonian virtue about American Fork’s city government these days. I know people have grievances and disagreements; I know things things are imperfect and in some cases outright flawed. There is ample room for improvement.
But I just spent about five hours with good, capable people who I believe are doing their best to serve the city and its residents — and who I believe have done well, especially as a group.Continue reading
This blog is primarily dedicated to American Fork issues. My 2022 election ballot has races for nation, state, county, and local offices, as well as a proposed Alpine School District bond issue and a proposed amendment to the Utah Constitution. I’ve posted two guides at my site for a broader audience, The Freedom Habit.
One post offers information and lots of my opinion, mostly separated, on the US Senate race pitting Mike Lee against Evan McMullin and others, and the US House of Representatives race between John Curtis and Glenn Wright (and some others). I got pretty candid, but then that’s the deal here. I tell you what I think.
The other addresses all the other races on my ballot, with info one each race and my own thoughts, such as they are, on each contested race. Overall, this post is less aggressive, I suppose, but it’s still what I think.
Thanks for checking in!
Photo by Sora Shimazaki at Pexels.com.
Kasey Wright served as City Attorney in American Fork from 2008 to 2018. He now serves as City Attorney in Nephi and also represents the Juab School District. He lives and practices in Juab County. He wrote this primarily for his own community but graciously allowed it to be reprinted here.
“A community is only as good as those who live in it.” I read this in a Nephi city council candidate’s campaign pamphlet. While this statement is true, it is even more true that a community is only as good as those who serve in it.
Community service comes in many forms: coaching little league, shoveling a neighbor’s driveway, volunteering at the 4th of July or Pioneer Day celebrations. Generally, we praise and appreciate those who provide community service. But there is one type of public servant who all too often is mocked and disrespected for their service: our local city council, commissioners, and school board members.Continue reading
This week I received my mail-in ballot for the 2021 American Fork municipal election. Today, more swiftly than usual, I offer my handy, unapologetically opinionated guide for local voters.
On the ballot are a mayoral race, a city council race, and one proposition. (I have no idea why they call it Proposition #5.)
Before we start with the proposition, then move to the candidates, here’s some information:
Mail-in ballots may be mailed in, of course. You won’t need a stamp. They must be postmarked no later than Monday, November 1, 2021, the day before Election Day.
However, if you prefer to use a ballot drop box and save the City some postage, there’s one in American Fork at the public library, clearly marked, adjacent to the outdoor library return boxes. Official ballot drop boxes around the county will work too, even for this American Fork municipal election. Boxes will be available until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2.Continue reading
Cards on the table: I plan to vote yes on renewing the PARC tax for ten more years. In this post I’ll explain. I’ll also list and respond to some of the reasons I hear for opposition or skepticism about its renewal.
(We’re on the opinion and analysis side of AFelection.info now. If you only come for information, be advised that any information you find below is marshaled to persuade, not merely to inform.)
What Is the PARC Tax?
Several years ago, the Utah Legislature made it legal for cities to charge an additional 0.1% sales tax, if the funds are dedicated to park, recreation, arts, and cultural (PARC) programs. That’s one penny on ten dollars. It has different acronyms in different cities; you’ll see it called a RAP tax too. In the 2014 election American Fork voters approved such a proposal, about 55% to 45%. I voted for it then too.
Since then, over $6.4 million in PARC tax revenues have flowed into American Fork. Most of this came from out-of-town shoppers. We’ve seen substantial upgrades to Art Dye Park, among others, as well as a flowering of arts programs. (For example, the latter includes a series of free chamber music concerts, which begins this October in the American Fork Library rotunda.)
Overall, so far, 60% of PARC grants have gone to parks and recreation programs; 40% have gone to arts and cultural programs. Details are available at afparc.org.
Why I Vote Yes to Renew the PARC Tax
I have several reasons for liking the PARC tax, apart from my own, my family’s, and my neighbors’ enjoyment of all four letters in the acronym: P, A, R, and C.Continue reading
The PARC tax is up for renewal in American Fork. It is an additional 0.1% sales tax voters first approved in 2014. So, if you spend $100, you will pay 10 cents. There are some questions around the sales tax that I hope to answer here along with sharing my own personal experience being on the board of one of the organizations which received grants from PARC funds.
What is the PARC Tax? How does it work?
The process starts by applying for a grant. Applications are then reviewed by the PARC Advisory Board of Directors, and a recommendation is made to the city council. The city council can then adjust and vote on an allocation resolution, as it did on April 27, 2021. (Later, the city council approved adding the Timpanogos Chorale to the list of grant recipients.) The city council then is responsible to hold the groups accountable to use the money as they outlined. New applications are submitted each year.
How is it spent?
About 60% is going to the parks and recreation. About 40% is going to arts and cultural events. There is some information available on the website, but it appears to be out of date. It includes up to 2020 but not 2021.
Brian Thompson, chair of the PARC Board, said that grant money was used for capital expenses, such as musical instruments, in the past, but going forward that won’t be allowed. Only operational expenses will be covered. He also said the Board is encouraging groups to become more self-reliant and less dependent on tax dollars. It is worth noting that there is no compensation for being on the board.
A significant portion of the PARC funds given to arts organizations is used to pay salaries. PARC funds allocated to the parks do not pay salaries. The city either uses outside contractors or provides its own labor for those projects.Continue reading
Several weeks ago, we lost American Fork City Councilwoman Barbara Christiansen to cancer. Others have written eloquently of her, and her seat on the council has been filled by another able and well-respected member of the community, Ryan Hunter.
I wanted to write of her myself – and sooner, but I think it’s not too late. Notably, today began the filing period for our next municipal election. It’s a great time to reflect on a remarkable woman who wore out her life serving our community.
Barbara Christiansen made me less cynical – first about reporters, then about elected officials.Continue reading
I last posted about American Fork City’s proposed citywide fiber optic utility about three weeks ago. At the time I had some unresolved, long-standing concerns (though I have favored the proposal since before it went public).
Since then, I’ve read some documents, including the City’s service agreement with LightHub Fiber, an interlocal agency through which the utility may be created. (Trust me, no one will want the movie rights to that document.) And I’ve spoken at length with City Administrator David Bunker.
I have new information on a couple of points, which changes my view of one part of the question. I’m also ready to close the loop on those unresolved concerns.Continue reading