ST. GEORGE – St. George is a city that faces many issues. The St. George Animal Shelter with its accompanying allegations and subsequent city council resolution has been a major issue for some city residents. For others the big issue is water and growth. Others wonder about the local economy and what is being done to attract new industry.
So what do the candidates for the St. George City Council believe is the most pressing issue currently facing the city? Or are there just too many to put a finger on? St. George News contacted each of the candidates and asked. Answers were received through email and interviews. Some responses have been edited for length.
Tara Dunn – Website
Via email: “St. George has a rich history, with great people. Deep local roots and folksy personas have historically been desirable traits in elected leaders. However, as we have grown, our governing has not become more sophisticated, and our elected leaders have protected interests of a select few, rather than our community as a whole. As a result, citizens, small businesses and basic services have suffered.
“We must have representatives committed to leading honorably; fostering a favorable business environment and ensuring public services operate properly. It is time for common sense, critical thinking and effective leaders. I am asking for your vote.”
Travis Christiansen – Website
Via email: “To me the most pressing issue is managing and planning for future growth and diversifying our economy. We need to develop a diverse business base so that we do not get hurt as badly as we did with the collapse of the housing market.
“I propose we work to establish a World Trade Center here as part of the World Trade Center Association. I feel this would do a lot to attract new business to the area.”
Ed Baca – Website
“There’s no one single issue,” Baca said. “We have to evaluate the needs of the city and prioritize them.”
There is only so much revenue for the city to spend on the many “issues” people feel are the most important at any given time, Baca said. The population is also diversifying and city government needs to understand that. A better line of communication is needed between the city and citizenry, he said, and one way to accomplish this is by establishing various citizen committees.
The city doesn’t like citizen committees because it “dilutes their control,” Baca said.
Marianne Sorensen – Website
Via email: “The challenge city leaders face is to govern in a manner that limits risks while deploying resources judiciously. We must find innovative ways to meet complex problems within fiscal constraints, and balance economic opportunities with environmental risks. While a profusion of strong opinion is leading to polarization and an environment in which reasonable proposals cannot gain traction, we need to build confidence in local government by creating an atmosphere of caring, treating residents with respect, listening, and proposing reasonable solutions.
“Consensus-based decision making based on high levels of participation, and compromise solutions based on sound public policy, are the solution.”
Greg Whitehead – Website
Via email: “I feel the most pressing issue facing St. George is still the economy and jobs. Too many people have been affected by our recent recession. So many people want to be working, but can’t find work, or can’t find the right work.
“I want to support business in St. George in any way possible. Starting and running a business is difficult enough without government adding unneeded regulation. If elected, I would love to review our cities codes with the council and question if the codes/ordinances are business friendly or not. If they are not, I would like to change them.”
Greg Aldred – Website
Via email: “Now that the animal shelter issues have been addressed, I feel that public safety is a concern and needs our support. Our city council does a good job with providing support for our emergency response teams and I want to continue with that. It’s our responsibility to keep our community safe, and continue our fight against gangs and drugs. Water, growth, transportation, and utility cost also have my attention.
“There are many issues and I feel that I can work well in moving our city forward to the future.”
Joe Bowcutt – Website
Via email: “It is difficult to identify the most pressing issue facing St. George, but I will identify what, to me, is the biggest long term issue.
“Our water situation continues to be an increasingly crucial issue for the future of St. George City. Fully informed decisions need to be made now, no matter how difficult they may be.
“It appears to me that the two conflicting entities are more concerned about who is right or wrong, than they are about solutions. The problems are well rehearsed, but solutions are not forthcoming.”
Patricia Kent – Website
Via email: “We are going to continue to grow. I believe we need to do some serious evaluation as to wise growth. We need input from those who live in and love this area to help make those plans, this is their community and they should be heard. Responsible growth should be our goal and is truly a big issue for our community at this time.
“I will serve the people in seeing that all sides of every issue is studied and presented to them for their consideration. We will move forward as a community, not a council of a few.”
“How we handle and continue to manage growth,” is a big issue, Fisher said. It is one of many issues people in St. George currently deal with, such as the animal shelter and the Dixie Sunbowl, he said, yet identified growth as an ongoing concern.
“Land and development must be handled smartly,” he said. With the region coming out of a recession and possibly entering a new building boom, “how we manage that land is important.”
Growth should benefit the city and the property owner, Fisher said, but the property rights of others should also be adhered to.
Warren S. Wright – Profile on William Way’s political blog
Via email: “It should be no surprise that it is growth which drives and complicates most every major issue or concern in St. George … One thing many cities have done is to adopt ‘Growth Threshold Standards,’ which set limits, beyond which, restrictions will be applied. As an example, I propose the following:
- Population: A 2-3 percent maximum increase per year.
- Air quality: Manage air quality so vehicle emission inspections not be required.
- Water: Gallons per capita per day usage be reduced 1 percent each year out to 2060, hopefully eliminating the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline.”
Michele Randall – Website
Via email: “The ‘most pressing’ issue will change many times while I am on the council for four years. In fact, an issue today may be history before the November election. What is essential is that the city council members have the proper perspective during those issues. We must focus on a willingness to work as a team. We need to be completely transparent in our dealing with the public. And we should accept that we are building on past traditions of the community, not trying to build in the ashes of those traditions.”
Jim McCoy – Profile on William Way’s political blog
Via email: “Our biggest problem … ‘is whether or not St George will be able to maintain and enrich its exceptional quality of life.’ Fifty years ago, much of the area in and around St. George resembled the landscape behind Desert Hills High School. Gradually people began to have a vision of the potential of St George with its wonderful climate and spectacular vistas. Beautiful neighborhoods, parks, cultural venues, and golf courses were established.
“If this wonderful quality of life is to be maintained, the patrons of this community must be united through an on-going educational process in working together to nurture it.”
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