Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Today is the day!

Here is your Election Day To Do List:

  1. Get Informed
  2. Go Vote
  3. Celebrate


You have a choice for your District 5 representative, even though the ballot doesn't show it. If you prefer, you can write in "HEMI" to vote for Stephen Hemingway to represent you on the Council. But I would be honored to get your vote.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Election Night Returns Watch Party (and Service Project)

You are all invited on Election Night (Nov 3) from when the polls close (8pm) until all the results are announced (~11pm)! The party will be held at Community Action Food Bank, 815 S Freedom Boulevard.

Let's get together, celebrate the end of the campaign season, enjoy each other's company, watch the election results, and do some good while we are at it. We'll have refreshments, live results projected on the wall, and few service projects to work on, like sorting cans or assembling weekend food kits for hungry elementary students.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Last Day to Register to Vote!

Today is the last day to register to vote for this year's election.

I want to thank my friend, Ben Markham, for underwriting an online voter registration drive. The drive continues throughout today, but so far 175 people have gone to the state's online registration site.

Register to vote by Tuesday! Click here to it online! Share if you are already registered.
Posted by David Harding for Provo District 5 on Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Register to Vote!

I estimate that three out of every four people I spoke with yesterday while knocking doors was not registered to vote.

Think about that. (And consider that our dismal voter participation rates are based on the number of registered voters, not the number of eligible voters.)

Let's do something about it. Registering to vote is one half of being an informed voter. The other half is becoming informed, but that won't help if the person is not registered. Tuesday is the deadline to register. We can work on getting informed after that.

Registering online is the easiest way for most people.

If you are reading my blog there is an extremely good chance that you are already registered to vote. Which is why I need your help. We can all make a difference by reminding people between now and Tuesday to register. If you are on Facebook, please share my "register to vote" ad, which links directly to the online registration site. If you are on Twitter, please retweet my plea. If you are going to a football game today, please remind the fans around you. If you are going for a night out on the town, pester the people you bump into. If you are attending a church this weekend, make an announcement. If you are going into work before Tuesday, encourage your coworkers to register.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Daily Herald/Channel 17 Interview

It's painful to watch video of myself in these kind of interviews. I console myself with the thought that so few people actually watch these things anyway. So why I'm posting the video here is difficult to explain. Perhaps it stems from my commitment to transparency, or perhaps from my insanity.

In the last interview it was painful to hear all my 'um's. This time I tried to say 'um' less, so instead of pausing to find the right word, I used whatever word popped into my head. It's still painful to watch.

On the bright side, I have plenty of room to grow and get better.

Thanks to Cathy Allred from the Daily Herald and everyone at Channel 17. This is a great service to help inform the electorate. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Two Weeks To Go!

Election Day is only two weeks away. Early voting begins today at 1pm at the Rec Center. More details at my Voter Info page.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Debate Videos

In case you missed the debates from the past couple of weeks, here are video recordings of all the action...all three hours worth. Fortunately you can skip forward to the questions and answers that you care about, something that you can't do live and in person.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Stylish New Lawn Ornaments

Have you seen the newest trend in residential landscape augmentation? Perhaps you've seen these bold lawn ornaments popping up in the yards of your most influential neighbors. You too can be in the avante garde by ordering a "Doctor Dave for District 5" campaign sign for your yard. A friendly technician (me) will come right out and expertly install this beautiful piece of art so that you can proudly show support for your favorite District 5 candidate. No seriously, email me and I'll bring one over.
Act now! Supplies are running out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sample Ballot - District 5

Here is a sample of what your ballot will look like, if you live in District 5. It is helpful to read over the propositions beforehand so that you have the opportunity to find answers to any questions you may have. Stephen Hemingway is the Write-In candidate; you'll need to write in "HEMI" for it to count, though.

  • Early voting starts next week
  • Voting registration runs until the 27th of October

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Bike Provo

    The Provo Bicycle Committee invited all City Council candidates to respond to five questions about active transportation and making Provo more bicycle friendly. I highly recommend you head over to their website to see our responses.

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    Council Debates

    Attending political debates is one of the quickest ways to become a more informed voter on both the candidates and important issues.

    The next debate for all of the candidates is tomorrow (Tuesday). It is being held at the Provo Rec Center, starting at 7pm with a meet-and-greet an hour beforehand. More details can be found here.

    Last Wednesday BYU’s Office of Civic Engagement and Political Affairs Society hosted a debate. Here is some news coverage of the debate.

    Saturday, October 3, 2015

    Pick Your Debate

    After complaints that there were not enough opportunities for voters to get to know the candidates before the primary, there are three debates coming up in the next week and a half to ask us questions.

    Office of
    Civic Engagement
    and the
    BYU Political
    Affairs Society
    Districts 1,3,4,5 and City WideOctober 7th
    4 - 5:30PM
    Varsity Theater at BYU.
    There is visitor parking
    either by the Law School or the Museum of Art.
    Districts 3,5 and City WideOctober 7th
    Franklin Elementary School
    Utah Valley Chamber of CommerceDistricts 1,3,4,5 and City WideOctober 13th 7 - 8:30PMProvo
    Recreation Center

    These are great opportunities to educate yourself on the candidates so that you can be an informed voter.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015

    Unopposed No Longer

    I'd like to formally welcome Stephen Hemingway into the District 5 race. I received confirmation today that he has filed as a write-in candidate. I have met Stephen a couple of times over the years and have interacted with him several more times on social media. I look forward to engaging with him on the campaign trail and hope that he livens up the discussion.

    Photo from LinkedIn.com

    Stephen ran for the District 5 seat four years ago and also applied for the vacancy earlier this Spring.

    I encourage all of you to learn more about Stephen and his ideas for improving Provo.

    I wasn't able to find a campaign site for him, but he has added a few public posts about his write-in campaign on his personal Facebook page. You can see them if you have a Facebook account. Consider liking his posts. He is inviting voters to meet with him at various "Meet the Candidate" events.

    I found this candidate profile that was done by the Daily Herald last time that he ran.

    It appears that he has three LinkedIn profiles that have more information about him. And here is his profile on www.utahrealestate.com.

    Welcome Stephen Hemingway. I'm grateful for your willingness to run for a spot on the Council and the choice that it offers the voters of District 5. I look forward to a clean, civil, issues-based race.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    Crunch Time

    Did you know?

    • We are 6 weeks away for the general election. (November 3rd)
    • We are 4 weeks away from the start of early voting. (October 20th)
    • We are 2 weeks away from absentee/vote-by-mail ballots being sent out. (October 6th)
    I've put together a Voter Information page, which has everything I can think of that voters or potential voters in District 5 might need. Let me know if I missed anything.

    We are getting into the campaign crunch time. You should expect to hear and see more from the various campaigns. For our part, we are now putting up yard signs. Please let me know if you would like one for your yard. You can check here for other ways to support my candidacy.

    Monday, September 21, 2015

    What to expect: Consensus

    As a follow up to the last post, What to expect: Disagreement, I want to touch on the flip-side of disagreement: Consensus.

    I have posted four more statements of support from residents in District 5. I feel that if you pay attention to local Provo issues you will likely recognize many of the names below the statements. Scroll through the page. You'll probably agree that the authors represent a fairly broad cross section of community-minded folk in Provo. What brings a diverse group of people with different views together for a common cause? It helps to be able to respectfully disagree, but I believe it also takes an ability to build consensus.
    I particularly appreciate Jamie Littlefield's assessment of my "ability to work well with just about anyone to get things done". She says, "Dave has been willing to listen and work respectfully with both those that agree and those that disagree with him."

    It takes consensus to get things done on the Council. At a minimum, it takes a majority agreement among members of the Council to get anything to pass, but a series of 4-3 votes will fray relationships over time. It is far better to work for a broader consensus on the Council before going forward with a vote.

    Likewise, in representing the public, it is important to listen to all stake-holders and to look for solutions that address major concerns, even if they aren't held by the majority.

    For some, "consensus" is a negative word. It can mean compromise, and watered-down solutions that are not bold enough affect any real change. This does not have to be the case. We often look at issues and take "sides" and advocate for solution A or solution B, though solution B is usually just solution not-A. Coming to a consensus can mean getting compromises on both sides for a hybrid A/B solution or to water solution A down enough to make it palatable to the non-A side.

    A good leader can find consensus in other ways. It can also be found by carefully listening to advocates of solution A and advocates of solution B and looking for a solution C which addresses the wishes and concerns of both groups. Building consensus can also mean exploring the experiences and outcomes of other cities who have wrestled with similar questions, and learning together which arguments are the most compelling and which points are the most relevant. Constructive dialog can help all interested parties identify the most important aspects and prioritize the desired outcomes. This may bring the groups closer together.

    The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said it much more concisely, "A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus."

    If I'm elected to the Council, I will work hard to facilitate the molding of consensuses through the engagement of stake holders, the fostering of constructive dialog, and the exploration of possible solutions.

    Thursday, September 17, 2015

    What to expect: Disagreement

    I've been asked, "What can voters expect if you are elected?" I think it is safe to say that you can expect me to make some decisions with which you disagree.
    I've posted three more letters of support from active members of the Provo community for whom I have great respect: Sherrie Hall Everett, Aaron Skabelund, and Christian Faulconer. In his letter, Christian points out that we don't agree on every issue, yet I have his full support.

    Many of you know that earlier this year I unsuccessfully applied for the vacancy that opened on the Council when our beloved Councilman, Stephen Hales, tragically passed away. Several residents of Provo wrote to the City Council in support of my application. Council members noticed that many of the authors went out of their way to mention that they don't always agree with me. One writer went so far as to call me one of his "most ardent opponents" when he was running for office. So why would they support someone with whom they disagree?

    If I'm elected to the Council, and if you follow the issues that come before the Council closely enough, I can almost guarantee that eventually you will disagree with one of my votes. But with that admission, I also promise that I will strive to engage with you and understand your position when we have differing opinions. I welcome and encourage healthy debate on controversial issues. Sherrie said that she appreciates my "respectful demeanor" and "statesmanlike manner" when the city committee that we serve on together holds "differing opinions." The result, she concludes, is that "We are able to thoughtfully and thoroughly discuss issues and better recommendations have been the result." I believe this is why I have the support of people even after our disagreements.

    I have butted heads with many of the people who support my candidacy. At the end of our discussions, they may feel that I'm mistaken, but they know that I hold my opinion out of a sincere belief that it is in the best interest of the community, and that I have tried looking at the issue from their point-of-view.

    And this feeling is usually mutual. One of the most rewarding parts of being involved in the community comes from leaving a debate, not with agreement, but with greater understanding and respect for those on the other side of the issue. There are so many people in the community that I hold in high regard, yet there are none that I can think of with whom I always agree.

    Monday, September 14, 2015

    Vote For Dave - Official Campaign Jingle

    Do we have any historians out there? When was the last time a candidate for Provo City Council had a campaign jingle?

    You Don't Want My Support

    One person figured that I would only accept a $50 donation from them so that I wouldn't need to include their name on the financial disclosure. Another person agreed to write a statement of support, but wondered aloud if it was in my best interest, considering the unpopular stance they took on a recent local issue. Another was surprised that I would even ask if they would support me publicly.

    Perhaps the saddest and most surprising sentiment I've come across while campaigning has been from people who feel like outcasts because of their involvement in the community. This sentiment came from a few individuals across the PPS (Provo political spectrum - which is a truly peculiar spectrum). These are good people. They are involved because they genuinely care about Provo. They have worked hard for the betterment of our community. But they feel like they have alienated other involved citizens because they saw an issue differently. They felt that their motivations were questioned when they advocated for an unpopular cause.

    Perhaps we, engaged citizens of Provo, need to do a better job of not allowing differences of opinion to drive wedges in relationships. We need to resist the urge to question to the motivations, the understanding, or the intelligence of people who are fighting on the other side of issues. The best policies and decisions come from robust debate and discussion. It hurts our community if people fear to raise their voice of dissent. It erodes our humanity when we harbor animosity towards those with whom we disagree. We should be kind and supportive of the people who care enough to engage in our community, even, and perhaps especially, when we find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    Radio Silence

    It's been a quiet month on the blog since the primaries. Today I rolled out a revamp of the site that I have been working on for a while. This includes a short bio, a lengthy disposition on important issues that our City and our District are facing, as well as new page about how you can get involved.

    With all that important mumbo-jumbo out of the way, I look forward to getting back to my blogging my random musings.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Congratulations and Thank You

    Congratulations to George Stewart and Carina Wytiaz on their primary victories in the City-Wide race, and to Dave Knecht and Brian Smith for making it through to the general election in November in the District 3 race.

    Hats off to Roger Brown, Jason Christensen, Stevan Davis, and Jeremy Friedbaum, for their love and concern for our community, and willingness to run for the Council. I hope they will continue to work for the future of Provo in whatever roles they find themselves.

    Details of the election results (including our dismal voter turnout) can be found here: http://electionmap.provo.org/

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    Tour of the District

    My daughters and I went for a bike ride this evening and I was a bit overwhelmed at what we experienced. Tomorrow evening Dixon neighbors are going on a field trip for our Neighborhood Meeting. We are going to tour the other Pioneer Neighborhoods to see what we can learn and find aspects that we want to emulate. My daughters and I went out this evening to plan our route. We biked through Timpanogos Neighborhood, and into Joaquin Neighborhood. We dropped down to Maeser Neighborhood and back through Franklin Neighborhood. We were looking for both the good and the bad, but came away with a greater appreciation for the special community that we live in. We were awed by the historic, stately homes, but admired the beautifully maintained yards of smaller, cute homes just as much. We were focused on our task to prepare for the neighborhood meeting, but at one point I commented to my oldest that everything we had seen this evening is the area that I hope to represent on the Council. "Whoa," she said, "I love our district." I couldn't have said it better myself.

    I'll try to remember my camera tomorrow night.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Civics 101

    So I'm brushing up on my civics. Here are some excerpts from documents that I've been considering. I'd love to get a conversation going, either in the comment section below or over at my Campaign Page on Facebook, where conversations seem to flow more freely. Particularly if you live in Provo, and particularly if you live in District 5, I'd like to know your thoughts on this subject, but I'll welcome thoughtful comments from anyone.

    Let's start at the top with the federal government:
    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."--Declaration of Independence
    It strikes me that "Happiness" is mentioned twice; we have an unalienable right to pursue Happiness, and the People have the right organize the Government as we see best to effect our Safety and Happiness. Government is instituted to secure our God-given, unalienable Rights. Governments derive legitimate authority from the consent of the People. What constitutes consent? Is it only active consent or does passive consent count? If a single individual doesn't consent, does that mean the government doesn't have authority over that individual? On the flip side, does majority consent bind all individuals?
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.--The Constitution of the United States

    For what purpose was the Constitution established? And more broadly, what is the purpose of government at every level in the United States? I think the Preamble sets out a pretty good list.
    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. --Gettysburg Address
    Liberty and equality.

    It is pretty clear to me that our government exists to serve the people, and not the other way around. The government is the orderly process by which we govern ourselves. We are the people, and we are the government. While President Lincoln was speaking of our federal government, I feel this is most true at the local level.

    Speaking of the local level, that just happens to be where I'm running. But before turning to the foundational principles in our city code, let's look at the state level. The local government also derives its legitimacy from the people, but it is authorized through the State government. So what does the State Constitution say?
    Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we, the people of Utah, in order to secure and perpetuate the principles of free government, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION. --Preamble
    The purpose statement is shorter and a bit more general in our state constitution. What exactly constitutes "free government"? Perhaps some of the following excerpts shed some light on this question.
    All men have the inherent and inalienable right to enjoy and defend their lives and liberties; to acquire, possess and protect property; to worship according to the dictates of their consciences; to assemble peaceably, protest against wrongs, and petition for redress of grievances; to communicate freely their thoughts and opinions, being responsible for the abuse of that right. --Article I, Section 1
    What does it mean to be responsible for the abuse of this right? At times our conversations about government focus solely on our rights and neglect to consider our responsibilities. Just because we have the right to do something doesn't necessarily mean that we should do it, or that it is laudable to do it. Sometimes it seems that our popular culture misses this point. We have the right to free speech, even if it is offensive, but that doesn't mean we should encourage people to be offensive or praise them when they are offensive.
    Is this saying that we must be held responsible for our individual misuse of this right, or that we must be responsible (i.e. on guard) to ensure that this right isn't abused (i.e. denied)? Who decides what constitutes an abuse of free speech?
    All political power is inherent in the people; and all free governments are founded on their authority for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform their government as the public welfare may require. --Article I, Section 2
    I love the reaffirmation that the power resides with the people. This is being addressed at the State level, but is clearly being directed at all levels. Alterations and reform is our right and public welfare is the stated aim.
    Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation. --Article I, Section 22
    I've heard some people argue that the money collected in taxes is private property. How does this view fit in with Section 22? Taxes are collected for public use. Do the services provided by the government constitute "compensation"? How can we ensure that this compensation is just?
    Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government. --Article I, Section 27
    Any thoughts on the meaning of recurrence?

    I am not aware of a City document comparable to our state or federal constitutions. The General Plan and Vision 2030 documents lay out a vision for our community, but don't necessarily lay out foundational principles of government. I figure these documents deserve a blog post of their own. From the City Code I did find this gem regarding the structure of the City government and the relationship of the two branches.
    The municipal government of Provo City is vested in two (2) separate, independent and equal branches of municipal government; the executive branch consisting of a mayor, a chief administrative officer, and the administrative departments and officers; and the legislative branch consisting of a Municipal Council having seven (7) members. --2.01.010. Municipal Government.
    So what are your thoughts?

    Saturday, August 1, 2015

    Multifaceted Transportation Systems

    Creative routing gave me a 10-hour layover in Amsterdam last week while on a business trip. This is definitely not the prettiest picture I took, but if you look carefully you can see pedestrians, cyclists, automobiles and a trolley on rails, all on one street.

    In Amsterdam I saw thousands of parked bicycles, perhaps tens of thousands. There were multilevel parking garages full of them. Bike racks were tucked into every nook of the city. I tried to imagine the space that would have been required to park so many automobiles. Many streets were filled with pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, and transit commuters. I tried to imagine how congested it would have been if they were all in automobiles.

    It is easy to see that Amsterdam is still drivable, not in spite of the cyclists, pedestrians, and transit options, but because of the varied transportation options.

    As Provo grows, we need to develop a multifaceted transportation system to give people options in how they get around and to keep our community mobile. If you are a driver, and you would like to keep convenient, efficient commutes, then please support the development of a complete transportation system, it is in your own best interest.

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    Recommendations from Elected Officials

    As a candidate for City Council I've asked people to do things that I have been unwilling to do myself. Let me explain.

    Two years ago, during the last campaign season for local offices, I was the chair of Dixon Neighborhood. I found it prudent not to publicly endorse any candidate, even if I did so without using my title as chair. I worried that it might hinder my ability to work with members of the Council on behalf of Dixon Neighborhood, and that it might strain some relationships with the neighbors I was trying to serve if they preferred a different candidate. I still supported candidates in less public ways and gladly shared my thoughts with individuals if they sought my opinion.

    Now as a candidate, I find myself in a somewhat awkward position of asking local elected officials to publicly support my candidacy. There are several reasons for this, and I'll explain one of them. I've blogged before about my reasons for continuing to campaign even if I'm running unopposed. Our Mayor and members of the City Council are public figures, they are well known and (for the most part) well liked. A majority of their voting constituents put them into office. Obviously some people value their opinions, so I figure that it would be helpful to provide their assessment of my potential as a Councilmember.

    Councilmembers and the Mayor are also the most familiar with my views on local issues and how I approach difficult questions. As much as I find it fascinating, I've learned not to bring up the theoretical framework behind my views on the principles of cost recovery and user fees at social gatherings. But I have subjected our poor Councilmembers to such when they requested public feedback on the matter. I spare my co-workers the finer points of my opinion on the Sanitation Fee Structure, but I've given our Mayor an earful. Outside of my dear wife, who, with the patience of Job, hears me work through all of these issues, the Mayor and Councilmembers have the best insight as to what kind of Councilmember I would be.

    Therefore I reached out to our local elected officials. Some have declined out of principle (or maybe they didn't have anything good to say) and others have provided a statement. Some said that they are willing to write a statement because no one is currently running against me. I respect the decisions of those who declined and I appreciate the support of those who agreed. I hope these new statements help give you some insight into the manner of Councilmember that I would be.

    Tuesday, July 21, 2015

    Early Voting and Meet the Candidates

    Primary early voting begins in one week. The main primary vote will be held two weeks after that. What are you doing to be an informed voter? Candidates for City-wide, District 3 and District 5 have been invited to a "Meet the Candidates" event hosted by Maeser Neighborhood. I hope to see you all there.

    Monday, July 13, 2015

    A Voice to All Residents

    I am humbled to add a statement of support from my neighbor, Antonio Fregoso.

    Antonio is a prince of a fellow. I've come to know him through his involvement in the community. Antonio is a particularly effective neighborhood leader because he bridges the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking cultures. It seems that Antonio is always out and about helping his neighbors. He has a demanding career, but makes time to serve others.

    Campaigns are generally resource limited, in both terms of time and money. To have the best chances of winning, candidates have to maximize the impact of their resources. Often this means targeting the most likely voters. I've heard it said that voting is the way to have a voice in their government. This is true, though not exclusively so, but it true in multiple ways. Not only are voters the ones who decide who will represent them through the election, but candidates will actually seek out voters. For a fee, campaigns can obtain voting records from the County which list the voters in past elections. Recently Provo has have very poor voter turn out. Nine percent of Provo registered voters voted in the primary election last time. That's 9% of registered voters, mind you, not eligible voters. If you vote, particularly in the primary election, future candidates will want to hear what you think about local issues.

    Campaigning helps candidates get to know the people that they hope to represent. Targeted campaigning can be more effective, but it can also skew the perspective of the candidate towards the views of active voters. Now I consider it a sacred responsibility of citizens to be informed voters (note the adjective "informed"). And I recommend to everyone that voting is the first step in having a voice in local government. But I also feel that it is good for the community for candidates and representatives to reach out to the public as a whole and not just likely voters.

    One of the benefits of running unopposed is that I am under less pressure to target the most likely voters. I plan to take voter registration forms along with me as I walk the district, knocking on doors. I hope that Antonio and others will volunteer some time to walk with me to help bridge language and other barriers.

    Many of our neighbors across the District feel that they don't have a voice in local government, or that it doesn't matter if they are involved. I will try to change that. I will reach out to the 91% of registered voters who chose not to vote in the last primary and the likely greater number of eligible voters who haven't even registered. I don't know how much of an impact that I will have, but I know that I will be better prepared to represent all of the residents of our district.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    Clear The Air

    Provo (and the greater Provo area) is regularly listed at the top of a variety of published rankings. We don't need to be told that Provo is a great place to live, but it is still nice to hear every once in a while. Our majestic mountains contribute significantly to our great quality-of-life. These mountains, though, can also be a curse when they trap our own emissions in the local air shed. Unfortunately, even though we don't pollute as much as many other places, our mountains make it so we sometimes top a more troublesome list: places with the worst air quality.

    Our bad air has a major negative impact on our quality of life. Poor air has been linked with shortness of breath and chest pain, wheezing and coughing, increased risk of asthma attacks, hospitalization and even premature death. Our air quality can also be a deterrent to good people and good companies from locating or staying here.

    There are many steps that can be taken to improve our air quality. Some of them are controversial. But everyone can get behind efforts of individual citizens to reduce our own impact on our air quality.

    The Clear the Air Challenge is a contest held by UDOT's Travelwise campaign, in partnership with UCAIR, and sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber. Participants are asked to consider how they can reduce their single-occupancy vehicle (SOV) trips, and then log how many SOV trips they didn't take. There are more details when you sign up, but you can reduce SOV trips by walking, biking, car-pooling, trip-chaining, e-commuting, taking public transit, or just skipping the trip.

    So I propose that we form a team and work together on this Challenge. I've registered the team under the name, Neighbors 4 Dave - Provo 5. After you sign up for the challenge you can join the team. (It is possible to join multiple teams and have your SOV trip reductions count towards each team.)

    It can be a bit tedious to log the trips, but overall this is a fun way to get us thinking about (and acting) how we can reduce our impact on our local air shed.

    There is a silver-lining to our hazy air, trapped by our mountains: we should be more aware than most people that we breathe what we emit. Most people don't get such a visible reminder that our actions have a real impact on our environment. Join with me this month in reducing our vehicle-produced smog. Let's see if we can fall a few notches in the list of places with the worst air.

    Thursday, July 2, 2015

    New Statements of Support

    I've posted two new statements of support from a couple of very involved Provo residents.

    An old saying goes, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance," and I don't know of anyone who keeps a more vigilant eye on our local government than Melanie McCoard. She is a watch dog, and a pit bull at that.

    The thing that impresses me most about Diane B. Christensen is how she stands by her convictions. She will stand up for what she believes is true and right and good, regardless of the personal costs.

    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    Contributions and Campaigning

    The first round of Financial Disclosures has been posted for Provo City races. The good news is that I received the most contributions in my race. The bad news is that I received the least contributions in my race. But I guess that has to be expected when you are running unopposed.

    In all seriousness, I am humbled and am grateful for the support that is represented by these campaign contributions. I promise to use these funds wisely.

    It is reasonable to ask why I'm even accepting contributions and what is the point of campaigning if I'm running unopposed. First off, the deadline for a write-in candidate is still a long ways off, and I'm still holding out hope that someone will file. But in the meantime, and even if nobody files, it is very important for me to engage in campaigning.

    Campaigning to me is about building relationships. Regardless of opposition in the election, I hope to represent my District 5 neighbors for the next two years. That is hard to do if I don't know them. When tough decisions are before the Council, I want residents of District 5 to feel comfortable in contacting me. I want to know who is passionate about certain issues so I can contact them. Campaigning will help me to develop these relationships. I will need these relationships and support if I feel the need to push an issue that isn't popular with the rest of the Council.

    Campaigning will help me to better understand the diversity of the District, to broaden my understanding of our vision for the City. It will help me to explore ideas with people about how to respond to the challenges and opportunities that we face. Campaigning will also help the people of District 5 to better understand me, so that they will know what to expect from me if I'm elected.

    So I will continue to campaign. I will continue to reach out to my neighbors. I will engage with the candidates in the other races. I will continue to invite conversations with the people I hope to represent. And I will continue to ask for contributions from people who support me, and I will use that money in the best ways I can.

    The second round of disclosures will come out at the end of July. Here is an easy way to get your name on the list. I'm asking everyone who supports my run to consider donating at least $5.

    Thursday, June 18, 2015

    An Endorsement...of Sorts

    I received an endorsement of sorts from Jason Christensen. Jason is a candidate for the City-Wide Council seat and is a moderator and lead poster in the "Conservative Our Provo" Facebook group. Back on June 6th, shortly before the filing period ended, Jason posted a call for people to step up and run for office in the then-uncontested races. He ended his opening paragraph with this sentence: "Lastly we need someone against David Harding, he may be an independent thinker at times but he is still a leftist in his ideology."

    I appreciate his assessment of my independence. I do try hard to look at each issue separately and try to be swayed by the facts and not by the advocates or critics. I do have to disagree, though, with his characterization of my ideology. Like most people, I find my own ideology quite reasonable and logical. It's everyone else's ideology that is too far to the left or too far to the right. ;)

    In all seriousness, I'm sure there are many issues that Jason and I would agree on, and I'm sure that there are many that we could have fun debating. I hope to have a few conversations with him out on the campaign trail.

    I've been meaning to post some substantive material up on this site about my views on issues and vision for the City and District 5. They will be coming soon. It just that it's far more fun to write these whimsical posts.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    On Opposition and Elections

    Yesterday Calli Hales contacted me to let me know that she had withdrawn from the District 5 Council race. After talking with her, I understand and support her decision. I wish her and her family all the best as she finishes her term on the Council. I am confident that she will continue her service to Provo and our community in one way or another, as she always has done. We owe her a debt of gratitude.

    I am saddened to see her leave the race for several reasons. I feel like Ms. Hales and I could have run a model race. District 5 was subjected to some nasty politics over the past two election cycles. Ms. Hales and I would have kept things positive and respectful as we debated ideas and policies. We would have presented our qualifications, capabilities, and vision for our district and then let the voters decide who would best represent them. Such a race would have helped the healing in our district, would have encouraged more people to get involved, and would have helped everyone to feel like they have a voice in local governance.

    Having an opponent also gives the campaign a sense of urgency and brings it more sharply into focus. Without anyone else in the race, I doubt that I'll be invited to too many debates. This is a missed opportunity. I believe that healthy discussion and debate leads to better ideas and broader and deeper understanding. Campaigning is a great way for me to meet voters and residents, get to know you, and to allow you to get to know me. Even without an opponent, I pledge to walk the district and knock on doors, to help me better understand your concerns and your ideas, so that I can be a better representative if I am elected.

    I also believe in democracy and our electoral process. For this to work right, voters need a choice.

    The period to get your name on the ballot has closed, but you still have until September 4th to declare candidacy as a write-in. I welcome a challenger or two to help make this race interesting again. If you know someone who would make a good representative for our district on the Council, please encourage them to run. Or consider running yourself if you feel like you have the time, passion, and qualities to represent our district well. This will give voters a choice, the candidates a reason to engage, and, in the end, a better representative will be elected, whoever that may be.

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    A Primary Reduction

    Janene Weiss, Provo City Recorder, has informed me that Dean Evan Cofer has withdrawn from the race. This leaves Calli Hales, the current representative of the district, and myself as registered candidates. Therefore, according to Ms. Weiss, there will be no primary for District 5. I look forward to an engaging and respectful race with Councilwoman Hales.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    Pledge of Fair Campaign Practices

    Now that the race has really begun, I want to make it very clear where I stand on the ethics and practice of campaigning. I'm speaking to my fellow candidates and their supporters, but particularly to anyone I'm fortunate enough to have supporting me.

    Below is a copy of the pledge I took regarding fair campaign practices. All candidates across the state are asked to sign it, but it is optional. I want everyone to know how seriously I take this pledge. I fully support the spirit of this pledge, and fully intend to keep my pledge. I expect to be held to this commitment. I can't promise that I won't make mistakes, but I want to be called out when I do.

    I want to draw particular attention to the fifth point of the pledge which calls for repudiation of supporters who do not act in the spirit of this pledge. I have committed to do this and this is fair warning to anyone who shows support for my candidacy.

    I call on all candidates seeking Provo offices to publicly acknowledge whether they signed this pledge and address their own commitment to the pledge. Let's all, candidates and supporters, do our part in keeping this election civil, ethical, and issues-based.


    There are basic principles of decency, honesty, and fair play which every candidate for public office in the State of Utah has a moral obligation to observe and uphold, in order that, after vigorously contested but fairly conducted campaigns, our citizens may exercise their right to a free election, and that the will of the people may be fully and clearly expressed on the issues.


    • I SHALL conduct my campaign openly and publicly, discussing the issues as I see them, presenting my record and policies with sincerity and frankness, and criticizing, without fear or favor, the record and policies of my opponents that I believe merit criticism.
    • I SHALL NOT use, nor shall I permit the use of, scurrilous attacks on any candidate or the candidate's immediate family. I shall not participate in, nor shall I permit the use of, defamation, libel, or slander against any candidate or the candidate's immediate family. I shall not participate in, nor shall I permit the use of, any other criticism of any candidate or the candidate's immediate family that I do not believe to be truthful, provable, and relevant to my campaign.
    • I SHALL NOT use, nor shall I permit the use of, any practice that tends to corrupt or undermine our American system of free elections, or that hinders or prevents the free expression of the will of the voters, including practices intended to hinder or prevent any eligible person from registering to vote or voting.
    • I SHALL NOT coerce election help or campaign contributions for myself or for any other candidate from my employees or volunteers.
    • I SHALL immediately and publicly repudiate support deriving from any individual or group which resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of an opponent, to methods in violation of the letter or spirit of this pledge. I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this pledge or the laws governing elections.
    • I SHALL defend and uphold the right of every qualified American voter to full and equal participation in the electoral process.
    I, the undersigned, candidate for election to public office in the State of Utah, hereby voluntarily endorse, subscribe to, and solemnly pledge myself to conduct my campaign in accordance with the above principles and practices.

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Welcome to the Race

    Yesterday, on the last day to file, the race for the District 5 Council seat became more interesting. I'd like to welcome Dean Evan Cofer and incumbant Calli Hales to the field. I'm looking forward to engaging with them on the campaign trail and exploring our vision for Provo and District 5 in debates.

    Monday, June 1, 2015

    I'm running for City Council!

    This morning at 7am I made it official. I filed as a candidate for Provo City Council, District 5. I'm very experienced in working with my neighborhood, and in engaging with the Council in deep policy discussions. I'm not so experienced in running for an office, so this'll be a learning experience! Please pardon my missteps.

    Stay tuned for more information as we get this thing off the ground. In the mean time, you can "like" the campaign Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/ProvoDistrict5