David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, November 4, 2013
David's Handy Little Election Guide (American Fork Version)

. . . Which is the only version there will be this election, because the only matters on my ballot pertain to American Fork City.

Election Day is finally upon us. All together now: Whew!

The thought struck that this little guide might have been useful to a few more people if it had appeared in time for early voting. However, I deliberately postponed it until just before Election Day to give me more time to expound on the proposed road bond issue, and because I hadn't decided what to do with my second city council vote, which went unused in the primary. Besides that, I have an untested theory that early voters tend to be either better informed and more committed (making my efforts less necessary) or more ideological (making my arguments useless).

In any case, here we are. I'll tell you how I'm voting and why -- very briefly, with links to places where I tell it less briefly, if you'll pardon the egregious understatement.

I will also venture a few predictions, which are enlightened neither by scientific polling nor by psychic insight. I'm required by the plea agreement to advise you that my crystal ball was confiscated years ago, due to malpractice and gross user incompetence.

For Mayor of American Fork

We have one seat available and two candidates, incumbent Mayor J. H. Hadfield and challenger Bill Thresher. My vote is for Mayor Hadfield. Even if Thresher were not an inexperienced candidate well suited for an entry-level job on some City committee, it would be hard for him to pull my vote away from a personal friend who I think has generally done an excellent job, and who is particularly well suited to a time when our overarching concerns are with infrastructure. Mayor Hadfield knows the city down deep -- down to at least 20 feet below ground, it seems.

Prediction: a Hadfield win, and it won't be close. Not only does he know the city better than almost anyone. Almost everyone knows him, and that counts for something in a local election. It helps that he's a genuinely nice guy. (Don't let the sometimes-crusty exterior fool you.)

For the American Fork City Council

We have two seats available and three candidates. Each voter gets two votes.

My first vote goes to incumbent Councilman Craig Nielsen. Here's something I wrote about him a couple of weeks ago. You have no idea how high this praise is in my book:

He is unusally intelligent. He is unusually meticulous in accumulating facts and analyzing their connections. He is uncommonly circumspect, in that he tends to wait to speak until he knows what he's talking about. And he respects the learning curve. He still respects the learning curve, after serving on the council for a year.

The other two candidates are Carlton Bowen and Jeffrey Shorter. I do not doubt that they are good men, and we must honor their willingness to join the fray. That said, I find that, like Mr. Thresher, they haven't been paying attention to matters at the City these past few years; they haven't done their homework, in the sense of becoming acquainted with City departments, personnel, and operations, as the best candidates have done it the past; and they're not connecting the dots. These arguments require detailed explanation; it's here.

One of the two will win. I have been trying to decide which one is more likely finally to turn into an excellent city councilor, after the rough ride the first year or two will be for a candidate who is not well prepared. I still don't know. I've been trying to discern which of the two is less obstructed in his thinking by ideology, and therefore able more easily to adjust his thinking to the complex facts of real situations and the ongoing duty to represent all the people. I still don't know that, either. (I am not opposed to ideology, except to the degree that it replaces or obstructs listening and thought.)

Some of my friends have been engaged in the same scrutiny. Some are choosing one, some the other. Some are voting for Nielsen and leaving their second vote uncast, as I did in the primary. I myself finally decided less than a week ago.

Against the possibility that there is an undetected groundswell of opposition to the proposed road bond issue and the incumbents who have embraced it -- which I doubt there is -- I'm hedging my bets. I want to make sure Nielsen wins, at least. So I'm not casting my second vote; I don't want to add to either challenger's total.

Prediction: Nielsen will finish first by a large margin and keep his seat. The other one's a tougher call. Bowen has run more of a campaign, harming his prospects in some instances but, I think, helping himself more. Shorter is well known and presumably well liked on the west side of town, because of his church service. I'll say, Bowen by a nose. Whoever wins, I'll wish him well. It will be like BYU starting any freshman quarterback whose name is not Ty Detmer.

Proposed Road Bond Issue

I'm voting for the proposed $20 million road bond issue, for reasons I've articulated until I'm tired of articulating, beginning here. To paraphrase someone who gave MFCC his opinion the other day, the work needs to be done, and this is the most economical way to do it.

Prediction: The bond issue will pass with 60-70 percent of the vote. Many voters have been attentive and inquisitive, and my impression is that most of them, having done their homework, see the wisdom in the proposal.

Last but not Least

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 5. Here are polling locations, courtesy of SupportRoadBond.com:

  • AF01, AF10, AF10S - Barratt Elementary - 168 N. 900 E.
  • AF02, AF12 - Senior Center - 54 E. Main
  • AF03, AF06, AF06S - Legacy Elementary - 28 E. 1340 N.
  • AF04, AF09 - American Fork Library - 64 S. 100 E.
  • AF05, AF11 - Forbes Elementary - 281 N. 200 E.
  • AF07, AF08 - American Fork High School - 510 N. 600 E.
  • AF13, AF14 - Greenwood Elementary - 50 E. 200 S

You can check your precinct and see a sample ballot at Utah.gov.


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