Learn BEFORE you vote. (Not an official website of American Fork City.)

Tag: Rod Martin

American Fork Election 2017

On November 7 voters in American Fork, Utah, will elect a new mayor and two new city councilors.

There will also be a special election that day — on the same ballot — for the remainder of retiring Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s term in the US House of Representatives.

Why Now?

You may still be detoxing from the last presidential race. And for one reason or another, that race or its aftermath may have tempted you to turn your back on politics altogether. I understand that temptation. But it’s time to get our heads back in the game and focus on the level of government we can most effect. Continue reading

Thank You! (and some American Fork results)


Preliminary voting results for American Fork City Council (from the Daily Herald, because the county doesn’t have them up yet) are these:

  • Brad Frost (incumbent): 2,198
  • Kevin Barnes: 2,057
  • Robert Shelton (incumbent): 2,028
  • Allen Simpson: 1,080

So Frost, Barnes, and Shelton take the three available seats. This is the result advocated here at afelection.info, and the margin is gratifying.

Proposition 1 (a county-by-county measure to fund roads and transit with a 0.25% sales tax increment) predictably failed by a large margin in Utah County. It appears to have passed in several counties where it was on the ballot, but failed in nearly every county (excepting Weber County) which is served by UTA — counties where 40% of the proceeds would go to UTA.

Many American Forkers watched the Orem City Council race with interest, because Debby Lauret, who led the American Fork Chamber of Commerce for several years, was making her second bid for city council. This time she won, finishing second in a field of six candidates for three seats. Congratulations, Debby!

Thank You!

All the candidates deserve our thanks. Serving on the city council is a lot of work with few rewards, and campaigning, though a shorter gig, is no picnic. Let’s also thank Councilman Clark Taylor, whose term will soon end, and who did not seek reelection. Few people ever see most of the heavy lifting a city councilor does, but I’ve seen some of his.

I think the voters deserve thanks too. Someone will whine about the turnout, because someone always does, but more than 2,000 American Forkers went to the polls. I’m inclined to thank voters for cutting through the rhetoric — some of it quite deceptive — and choosing three excellent, reasonable, highly qualified leaders. Believe it or not, good sense brings its own economies.

Thanks to Kelly Smith and her American Fork PTA Council, the American Fork Chamber of Commerce, American Fork Hospital, the American Fork Youth City Council, residents John Mulholland and Brian Rawlings, and everyone else who worked to inform the voters.

Thanks to you too, our readers here, and to the many people to passed around the information they found here, by social media, e-mail, in print, and by word of mouth.

Eleven days before the election, Rod Martin texted me. He wanted to talk about doing something more to help inform the voters. Ten days before the election, we met after a meet-the-candidates event and decided that he would get some signs made to point to some web content. The web content would be my job. The domain afelection.info was available, so we decided to put it here. By Wednesday, six days before the election, some of the content was ready (thanks to WordPress) and the signs were printed.

Between then and Election Day (inclusive), we had 1,168 visits to the site by 816 unique users, almost all in American Fork. 3,058 page views tell us that many visits were to multiple pages, and an average session duration of about four minutes tells us people were reading. Above all, these numbers tell us that voters care about the facts, which is a very happy thing.

Both Rod and I have been surprised at the number of American Fork voters who have gone out of their way to thank us — many of them in person — for doing our very small part this year. Our favorite recurring themes were expressions of satisfaction that someone was putting out accurate numbers in context and clearly explained, against some of the other numbers that were flying around; and this welcome refrain: “I read every page.”

We also thank you for urging us to keep the domain and the site and do this again in two years, for the next municipal election, and for the welcome offers of help in doing so next time.

We may post some content before the next election cycle, if we think there are things the voters should know but aren’t hearing about what’s happening at the City. We’d welcome help with that too.

In any case, we’ll do our best to be a reliable source of information in context, and to explain complicated things clearly. As we have already done, we’ll supply some general, nonpartisan information and some analysis and commentary which will likely be . . . less nonpartisan.

If we see a spade, we’ll call it a spade, even if other folks — presumably nice folks — are convinced they see a rake or a hoe or a rainbow. We’ll never manage fully to detoxify our local politics, but we think good data helps good people make good decisions. Slowing down the spin and adding context and perspective are good things.

So keep your sign or return it to Rod at World Class Auto, and we’ll use it again.

Meanwhile, may we respectfully suggest that it’s time to start recruiting fine candidates for the 2017 election, and time for possible fine candidates to start preparing seriously, if they’re not already?

Best wishes to all. Well done. And thanks again.

AFelection.info: Who We Are, What We Want, and What We’ll Be Doing

We realize this isn’t what everyone does in politics, but if you’re going to read the information and analysis you find here at afelection.info, we want you to know who we are, what we want, and what we’ll be doing here, so you can evaluate it properly.

Who We Are

We are David Rodeback, who’s doing most or all of the writing; and Rod Martin, who paid for the signs you’ll probably see around town, which say “Learn BEFORE you vote – afelection.info,” and who weighs in on the content and approach of these posts, among other things. Several other helpful folks have provided facts, opinions, and encouragement.

We are not affiliated with or funded by any candidate or campaign. No candidate approves what we post here. Some candidates may like it, but probably not all of them.

What We Want

What we want is simple: good local government. We think this depends on blowing away the chaff — the deception and misinformation which sometimes spreads systematically about key issues — and electing the best available candidates to the American Fork City Council and as as Mayor of American Fork.

For example, in the 2015 election cycle we want you to be able to evaluate the truth and accuracy of a report that American Fork residents have the fourth or fifth highest tax municipal tax burden in Utah. The study is fatally flawed, and the flaw is pretty obvious, but one PAC doesn’t care, and one candidate is passing around their fliers. We won’t just explain; we’ll give you a link to the study, so you can check it yourself.

When you see a graph showing (but carefully not actually saying) that American Fork has the highest property tax rate among cities in Utah County, we want you to know the full picture before you vote — because good people with bad information make bad decisions. We want you to realize that they left cities with higher rates off the graph. We’ll leave it to you to wonder why. We ‘ll give you a link to official documents with the needed information.

When they complain that water rates are unnecessarily high and blame this on the incumbents, we want you to understand the truth, which is . . . well, different.

And if you just feel like you don’t know the candidates very well, we’ll give you bite-size audio chunks of the candidates answering questions at public meet-the-candidates events. We won’t hide any of the audio — though we’ll delete some of the housekeeping, the Pledge of Allegiance, and so on. We’ll provide some notes to help you keep track of what’s going on in each chunk, such as a list of questions and the order in which the candidates answered each question.

What You Can Do

Learn before you vote. Then vote as you think best. (If you voted early, we’ll assume you knew the candidates already, at least well enough to pick three of the four with confidence. But you’re still welcome here.)

You have the opportunity to comment on virtually anything at this site. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but you don’t have to agree with anything here to have your comment approved. You just have to be civil and relevant — and the test for relevancy is pretty generous.

If you like what you find here — or just want to discuss it more widely — please post links on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. We’ll give you some graphics to help with that.

Back to Where We Started

If you want more chatter from the same people, David Rodeback’s old blog about politics and everything else is still at LocalCommentary.com. He blogs occasionally about politics and government (not specific to American Fork) at FreedomHabit.com and about books, writing, religion, and other topics — also occasionally — at BendableLight.com.

Or drop by Rod Martin’s business, World Class Auto Repair, on Main Street in American Fork.