David Rodeback's Blog

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Thursday, November 3, 2005
Blogus Interruptus, and Some Housekeeping

With apologies to the folks who were looking forward to my post on American Fork's final meet-the-(mayoral)-candidates event, I note that it was delayed due to technical difficulties and the aggressive intrusion of life beyond the blog (shall we call it LBB henceforth?). It has now been posted. Two other posts were also delayed; they will be added with their appropriate dates very shortly.

Meanwhile, four interesting bits and one correction:

  • City council candidate Heidi Rodeback's blog post on downtown is the best thing I've heard or read about downtown in this year's campaign, and that's my unbiased opinion. It needed to be written, too, in part because some political opponents are spreading the silly idea that Rodeback, fellow council candidates Dale Gunther and Juel Belmont, and mayoral candidate Heber Thompson, want to get elected (or re-elected) so they can funnel City funds to downtown at the expense of the rest of the City. Rodeback's post by itself will not put an end to the disinformation, but it helps. (Actually, downtown isn't the biggest issue in any of their platforms.)
  • Mayoral candidate and current Councilman Shirl LeBaron recently blogged on some of the rumors he's heard about himself and his campaign. It's a good post. It illustrates both the usefulness of the campaign blog and the foolishness of the rumor mill. I've been toying with a rumors post of my own, but we'll have to see.
  • Incumbent council candidate Juel Belmont has reportedly picked up an endorsement from the Public Employees Division of the Operating Engineers Union, which apparently is a police union to which some of American Fork's officers belong. I can't be the only one who has heard her suggest publicly that we have more police officers than we need. I suspect this is less a pro-Belmont endorsement and more an anti-Fox slap by local union leaders. Council candidate and retired police chief Terry Fox clearly is not immune to backstabbing by his own former colleagues. God help the new chief, whoever he turns out to be.
  • If you can't imagine what lessons jazz music might have to inform the rebuilding of New Orleans, you may enjoy reading this piece by jazz icon Wynton Marsalis.
  • And the correction: I suggested in a previous post that City Planner Rod Despain was leaving; a job listing for a new city planner suggested this was true. A current Council member told me last week that Despain's hours are being reduced, but he is still there, and the listing is for an additional city planner.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later today, when I've had a chance to pick up and read a couple of local newspapers.

David Rodeback writes (11/5/2005):

I've been told that my first bullet point was impenetrable, so I have revised it. In the process, I added Juel Belmont's name; she also participates in Downtown American Fork, Inc.

Heidi Rodeback writes (11/5/2005):

According to Melanie Marsh, city administrator, the city has listed the planner's position in order to assure a smooth transition for Rod Despain when he retires. The new planner will be the department chair, and will be the voice representing staff at planning commission and city council meetings. Rod's hours will then drop to part-time status. Rod does not plan on retiring any time in the near future, but he did tell me, recently, that he's not getting any younger.

I raised the question with Melanie in a phone interview on October 28. I was worried that the city was letting Rod go due to philosophical differences. But Melanie told me this is not the case. "Rod has too much knowledge that we need to get tapped," she said. The city is critically dependent on him for his expertise in water shares and RDAs. The plan is to pull him back from the day-to-day planning (this part is easily delegated) so he can devote his time to these areas and arrange for a smooth transition when the time comes.

Still, I'm disappointed to see Rod go part-time. He is one of the best things American Fork has going for it. Encyclopedic and professorial, he is always my first stop when I need better light on a complex issue. Philosophically, he takes just the right angle on quality growth, using just the right box of planning tools to help American Fork embrace growth while maintaining its neighborly charm.


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