I had the opportunity last night to participate as a candidate in the Bountiful Meet the Candidates night. Thanks to the League of Women Voters who has supported this forum for many years past.
I was overwhelmed at the number of people who came to meet me after the event. It was extremely gratifying to hear their positive comments and the pledge of support. I truly appreciate everyone who attended the meeting. Unfortunately more people did not take the opportunity to meet the candidates who want to receive their vote. Here are some of my observations;
Mayor Joe Johnson seemed very defensive on the issue of Ethics and Accountability in government and he strongly opposed the formation of any committee to report on future accusations of ethics violations. He expressed his belief that he was an honest and extremely ethical man. No one by the way, accused him of being dishonest or unethical and Jeff Novak his challenger made it clear that he never made any accusations on the ethics of Mayor Johnson or anyone else on the city council. Mayor Johnson was visibly irritated and highly emotional in his agitated response to the idea. Here is how I see it. If a person is honest and ethical they should have no worry about a citizen’s commission to check on them from time to time. Surely Mayor Johnson has nothing to worry about.
I noticed that along with the two incumbent city council members who obviously attended as participants in the debate that Council John Marc Knight also sat in the audience. I did not notice the presence of the other two Council members, Beth Holbrook and Scott Meyers. I was disappointed that they did not believe that it was necessary to show their support for such an important political event that will have an impact on our city. Now that I have said this, let me apologize in advance if they were there and I just didn’t see them or if they had other pressing obligations that kept them from attending.
I thought that Jeff Novak was incredibly prepared. He is obviously an intelligent and well qualified candidate for Mayor. He was articulate, concise, and considerate of others and the time he took for each answer and he kept his cool when he was attacked by the Mayor and Councilman Moss. I would rate his performance with an A.
Why would Mayor Johnson make the comment that his eight years has made him more qualified to lead as mayor then the challenger? When Mayor Johnson ran eight years ago he was the challenger against a current member of the City Council who by Mayor Johnson’s qualifying comments last night meant that Councilman Gordon was more qualified then Joe Johnson was at that time. It seems a bit arrogant to assume that only a sitting Mayor is qualified for that seat when there are numerous well qualified citizens throughout Bountiful. Mayor Johnson gets a D from me on that answer. Never assume that you are the most qualified at anything, chances are that there is ALWAYS someone more qualified somewhere.
Incumbent Fred Moss gets the “Long Winded” award for taking over five minutes to answer a two minute question. I felt sorry for the designated time clock lady in the audience who kept flashing the TIME END card at Fred and finally she gave up and dropped the card in her lap. Then Fred told her “I know my time is up but I have more to say so I’m going to keep talking.” Those of us on the panel were getting a bit frustrated too because he was eating into the time of all of us in the meeting. When Fred finally finished talking about the needs of the Bountiful City Power plant it was Tom Tolman’s turn. He wanted to yield his time to Fred but instead said a line or two and turned it to me. I think Fred was surprised that not only did I know something about Bountiful City Power but that I had facts and figures with me to back it up. After I spoke the question went to the Mayor and then was supposed to end with Jeff Novak who was at the end of this round. However, Fred was not done and wanted another two minutes for rebuttal. We were all amazed that he again kept talking after the signal to STOP. Fred, you get a D- for thinking that what you had to say was more important than anyone else in the debate last night.
Tom Tolman the other eight year incumbent made a statement that took me by surprise. He said that because he grew up in Bountiful and had pioneer descendants from Bountiful that he had a “right and responsibility” and that he had a “calling” to serve in Bountiful City government. Tom, I assume that you meant that due to the longevity of your family heritage in Bountiful that you felt a responsibility to serve in government to protect the heritage of your family and the community of Bountiful. I appreciate your love of Bountiful but anyone who wants to serve on the City Council has to be elected to that position by the community and no one can serve without receiving the majority of votes by the citizens in the community regardless of any “right” or "calling"they believe they have to the seat. Tom gets a C for failing to express himself in a way that does not make him look like an incumbent who believes he can continue to serve even if the people don’t vote him in for another term. I believe they call that Monarchy, we are a Republic, even in Bountiful.
Ernie Cox. Ernie, where have you been the last couple of months? You were insistent that you wanted to run for City Council even to the point of convincing Eric Hattabaugh to drop out of the race to avoid a primary runoff for the City Council seats, yet until last night I did not know if you were still in the race. You have no campaign signs anywhere in Bountiful and I have not seen or heard anything about you in weeks. I thought your comments last night were fine but when asked to describe the things that were done wrong and the things that were done right by the incumbents in the last eight years all you could say was that you did not think that they had done anything any different than you would have. I did not expect you to start listing your grievances with the decisions of the incumbents but I did expect more form you on that answer. I have to give Ernie and “Incomplete” because there just isn’t enough information to judge him on. Sorry Ernie, let’s hope you can get your message together and out in the next two weeks.
Obviously it would be a bit too biased if I rated my own performance. However, I do believe that I was well prepared and my biggest critic told me I did wonderful. My wife gave me an A. If you weren’t there you’ll just have to take her opinion for it.
Overall, it was a great night and I enjoyed being a part of it. I really do appreciate the service of our Mayor and City Council over the last eight years. I know they have served to the best of their ability and I also know that if elected, I will most likely serve with one or more of them.
Mayor Johnson made another comment that we constantly hear in politics. He said that the current administration had worked hard in the last eight years and that there was much left to do and that they needed to serve another term to accomplish their goals. My response was that there will always be more to do and if you are that committed to a goal or a project for the city make sure that you get involved as an active citizen after your term ends and allow your replacement to take up the banner while you help him achieve your original goal.
Thanks again to all of you who attended the meeting it was quite revealing. I look forward to helping either Fred Moss or Tom Tolman assimilate back into the community so that I can pick up their torch and run with it! PLEASE VOTE WRIGHT on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 3rd
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