Her opponent has too many conflicts, Pitt claims
October 14, 2008
Park City Republican Alison Pitt says her Democratic opponent in the race for Summit County Council seat D has too many potential conflicts of interest.
Pitt’s opponents include Basin Democrat Chris Robinson and Jeremy Ranch resident Gary Shumway, a member of the Constitution Party. Robinson partly owns some tens of thousands of acres of land in eastern Summit County which he insists he has no intentions of developing.
"How do you know?" Pitt replied. "Does [Robinson] have a personal agenda for trying to get elected?"
Robinson does oversee The Ensign Group development firm and is currently pursuing an application to build a major subdivision in Summit County near the Mirror Lake Highway east of Kamas.
"Government employees are public servants," said Pitt who works as a corporate attorney for Park City-based Nutraceutical Corporation.
Robinson’s business dealings in the past with former Summit County Community Development Director Dave Allen are suspect, she said.
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"The biggest difference between myself and Chris is that I will not approach politics in the county with a paternalistic approach," Pitt said. "I’m not coming in saying, ‘I am an expert.’"
Meanwhile, the director of real estate at Robinson’s Ensign Group, Randy Cassidy, also advises the county about real-estate matters, which Pitt insists is a conflict of interest and would complicate Robinson’s ability to make decisions as a councilperson.
Cassidy has worked with landowners transferring development rights to other parcels in Summit County, which is a controversial program known as TDR.
"I don’t know how much money this brings in for The Ensign Group and I don’t know how much money the county is paying The Ensign Group," Pitt said about her perceived reluctance on the part of officials to disclose details about Cassidy’s dealings on behalf of Summit County. "I’m worried about a candidate coming in because they have a personal agenda and they want to get a code changed a certain way or they want to hire a certain person Chris has to explain why he is running and the public has to make a decision."
In a Tuesday interview Pitt said county officials do a dismal job of notifying the public about meetings and public hearings.
While notices in the newspaper may comply statutorily with the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act, the "spirit of the law" is regularly violated.
"I want to be part of a new generation and I think it’s important to step forward and fulfill a new challenge," said Pitt who is the youngest candidate in the race.
Public hearings would be scheduled at night instead of two o’clock in the afternoon if she is elected to the two-year seat, Pitt explained.
"I think the county does not proactively engage the public," Pitt charged.
She faults the Summit County Commission for not "seeking public input prior to a decision."
"I will properly list agendas and provide detailed information to the public," Pitt said. "I’m all about proactively engaging people."
Next year the Summit County Council will replace the three-member commission which disbands in 2008. Pitt touts her political experience as a member of the Summit County Board of Adjustment.
"Running for County Council is not a career or personal move for me," she said. "This is service for me."