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.