Three are in contest for mayor’s office
July 2, 2009
The three people who had indicated they would campaign for the mayor’s office in Park City formally submitted their papers on Wednesday, the opening day of the filing window, hurtling themselves into the first competitive contest for the city’s top office since 2001.
The three are:
Mayor Dana Williams, who is seeking a third term in office.
Former Mayor Brad Olch, who spent three terms in office before deciding not to seek re-election in 2001.
Diania Turner, who owns a shuttle company and is a newcomer to Park City politics.
The filings were expected. The two challengers had said they would campaign for the mayor’s office months ago. Williams at the end of June said he would seek re-election, ending speculation about his political plans that had stretched through the winter and spring.
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With at least three people in the contest, a primary election will be held Sept. 15 to reduce the field to two for Election Day Nov. 3.
It is a contrast to the last mayoral campaign, held in 2005, when Williams was unchallenged as he won re-election. That year was an anomaly, however, and mayoral campaigns through the years have been rough-and-tumble, costly affairs.
In 2001, the last time there was a competitive mayoral campaign, Williams won the office in a bruising contest against Fred Jones, who was a Park City Councilman at the time, to succeed Olch. In his earlier Election Day wins, meanwhile, Olch beat opponents in testy campaigns.
It is unclear whether others will file papers in the mayoral campaign. The filing window does not close until July 15. Nobody has made public statements recently about a mayoral campaign, and others who had mentioned the possibility did not appear as though they expected to mount a bid.
If the field is set with the three, voters will likely be especially interested in the banter between Williams and Olch. They are two of the formative figures of Park City’s ski-town era, with each of them able to campaign on a list of accomplishments ranging from the 2002 Winter Olympics to City Hall’s heralded open-space program.
But they come from contrasting backgrounds. Olch worked his way up through the Park City government in the 1980s through an appointment to the Planning Commission and then a successful campaign for the City Council while Williams became widely known in the 1990s as the leader of development watchdog Citizens Allied for Responsible Growth. Williams and Olch were seen as being on opposing sides during the tense talks in the 1990s about the development that later became Empire Pass, the high-water mark among the numerous growth disputes inside the Park City limits.
Williams has said he wants to continue City Hall’s environmental efforts, which he has championed, and he wants to push for senior-citizen housing. He has also said revisions to City Hall’s General Plan, an overarching document that guides growth, are important.
Olch has been talking to regular Parkites about issues that are important to them, and he has said his experience in the municipal government will be one of his strengths as a candidate. He has said he will not campaign on a platform against City Hall.
Turner has said work force housing inside Park City is important, as are the local government’s environmental efforts like the move toward using cleaner-burning energies. She has also said she meets a cross section of Parkites and visitors while driving taxis and she wants improvements to Main Street to make it safer for pedestrians.