Of the six candidates that will be on the November 3 ballot, these are the three that are the least worst.
After watching their campaigns over the last couple months I’m completely underwhelmed with enthusiasm for them because none of them will openly discuss the ongoing corruption in our city. But despite their seeming lack of moral courage, they are still the best candidates this city has because the other three are far, far worse.
Here’s my quick rundown of all the candidates with the worst first.
Richard Steinkopf (incumbent)
Steinkopf famously stated in a city town-hall meeting, “I am not corrupt. That word really ruffled my feathers.”
If you want to see what kind of corruption he supported during his tenure in office all you need to do is check out this summary of the city’s food and clothing expenditures:
Mike Owens was reportedly recruited to run for office by Mayor Pengra and shortly after his website went online I started hearing complaints that he was lifting text and ideas from other candidates and political figures and reusing them on his website. When I went to verify this, it certainly looked to be the case. He claimed that he fought to keep the state prison from relocating to Eagle Mountain. Drew Curley, a co-founder of the “Keep it in Draper” Facebook group, said that he hasn’t been involved in the fight.
The other big knock against Owens is that he’s an airline pilot. As we know from our recent experience with Council Member Adam Bradley, airline pilots don’t have a work schedule that is conducive to public office. I’ve tried for months to get a meeting with Bradley and still haven’t been successful.
If you want a council member who has the time to study the issues and attend all the council meetings, I’d highly recommend not voting for Owens.
As a side note, have you seen his large 4 x 8 campaign signs throughout the city? They look just like developer signs. If I had to hazard a guess, I think he’s the sleeper candidate for the building community within the city. He says all the right things to be a man of the people, but as Pengra’s recruit he’s probably more of an insider than anyone else but Steinkopf.
According to his bio published on the city’s website his main interest is the city’s rodeo, an event that has been a financial albatross around our city’s neck since its inception.
Despite his glowing description of how well the rodeo is doing now, there’s only one reason a rodeo person like him would run for the council: to restore some of the government subsidies that Mayor Pengra took away.
The city has probably wasted close to a million dollars on its rodeo in previous years and taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize what is essentially the private hobby of the city’s “horse people” anymore. Period.
It’s worth noting that Gray is also close friends with Wendy Lojik, the publisher of the Crossroads Journal, the local paper that refuses to cover any corruption issues in the city. In my opinion, he runs with the wrong crowd even though he advertises himself as a down to earth guy. He’s obviously an insider.
Everybody likes Reaves but he’s a social worker who likes social spending. While I’m all for providing more activities and programs for our youth and families, our city has far more pressing priorities.
Since my last review of his campaign website he’s put up a lot more detail about his platform and he has many good things to say, especially about keeping government small, but I just don’t understand how he reconciles keeping government small with expanding government services in the city.
The main characteristic that puts him in the top three is that he’s better than the previous three choices. Plus, if we are going to spend, it may as well be on our children instead of blowing it all on a rodeo that only a very small percentage of city’s residents care about.
As the only candidate that mentions the city’s corruption on his website Curtis deserves a little credit for being brave but then he makes the stunning statement that it’s all behind us. Really?!?
“Eagle Mountain is on the right track now, but has not always been so lucky. The city’s history of corruption and waste needs to stay behind us on our path of fiscal conservatism, as we limit expenditures while seeking to increase the city’s funding sources.”
Pengra has gone on the record in his blog admitting that the city still spends thousands of dollars on food and clothing for the city’s employees every year, yet when I confronted Curtis about the public officials who’ve been misusing taxpayer funds to pay for their own personal meals and entertainment, he told me that there should merely be a dialog about the “appropriate level of taxpayer funding for employee food,” as if there was one.
He is dogmatic to the point of being principled, especially when it comes to spending on high ticket items like the rodeo, but his propensity for wanting to be liked by the powers-that-be in the city might be his downfall.
I wish there was a better candidate than Curtis, but he’s got my vote because beggars can’t be choosers.
Gricius is the only candidate who has openly criticized the city’s pork and lack of transparency on her website. As such, she is by far the best candidate on the ballot, but she’s also extremely timid about talking about the corruption that still exists within the city.
She also has the dubious distinction of having been the author of a public condemnation of my style of politics on one of the city’s political Facebook pages. While she didn’t mention me by name, she did condemn the super-scandalous door hanger I was passing out to city residents at the time.
What’s funny is that both she and Curtis both employed a lot of aggressive tactics while fighting the Utah State prison relocation, including public signs that ridiculed the proposed public move, but they condemned me for being equally blunt in confronting the city’s bureaucracy. It’s was quite hypocritical of them and very disingenuous. What they were really afraid of is being associated with me since I had become very unpopular among the bureaucracy’s supporters and I endorsed both of them in the primary election.
I hope that Curtis and Gricius find their spines if they ever get into office because they won’t be able to clean up this city without getting involved in some epic fights with the city’s bureaucracy. I also highly encourage them to make generous use of the political skills they honed in fighting the state because ridicule is the only thing that crooked government officials are truly afraid of. Crooked bureaucrats know that if they turn into a joke, their days of living high on the hog are numbered.
I wish I could offer stronger endorsements this time around, but our current council candidates are pretty darn weak. It’s really a shame because we live in one of the most crooked cities in Utah and we need fighters who aren’t afraid of exposing the theft and corruption of the Pigs in Suits who work in our City Hall.