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City election lacks alternative agenda

Political outsider Mark Blue deserves a heap of credit for entering this year’s Park City Council race. That doesn’t mean, however, that he deserves your vote on Tuesday. In a sluggish election season, which saw only five council candidates, two of whom dropped out before the primary, and no challengers for the mayor’s seat, Blue’s willingness to go through the campaign process is laudable. Without his participation, there would have been little reason to hold candidate forums or debates. If not for Blue, incumbent Jim Hier and former council member Roger Harlan would have become de facto council members just because they filed. Unfortunately, Blue missed a valuable opportunity to capitalize on his self-proclaimed non-realtor status and his working-class background. He failed to articulate a specific platform other than making vague references to not doing things "the old way" and therefore did not galvanize what could have been an influential demographic — Park City’s young, service industry workforce. The other two candidates are indeed proven commodities. Over the last four years, Jim Hier has lent a steady, well researched perspective to the council. He is, however, openly entrenched in the resort/real estate establishment, a perspective that already dominates City Hall. Harlan, too, has rock solid credentials when it comes to civic duty, but his campaign brought nothing new to the table, just a blanket endorsement of the current council. It would have been perfect timing for a radical council member to learn the ropes and bring new citizens into the process. But Blue is a rebel without a cause. Last summer he was sporting a mop of shocking pink hair, perfectly appropriate for the club scene that would have garnered a lot of double-takes at City Hall. Blue apparently ditched the unconventional hair color when he decided to run for council but, to be honest, we would have been more likely to endorse a pink-haired candidate with an agenda than one with conventional hair and no clear idea of how he would run the city. Apparently, Park City voters are content with the way the current city government is handling their affairs. To a large degree, that confidence is well founded. Mayor Dana Williams and the current council members have been skillfully juggling a full agenda of complex issues. But there is always a need for new perspectives and that is why the dearth of qualified candidates is so troubling. There may be some hope for future elections among the members of the new 20/30 Vision group, an ad hoc organization of young citizens. Interestingly, the group did not chose to endorse a candidate in this election — not even their contemporary, Mark Blue. Next year though, the group could exert a significant influence over the county elections and two years from now one of its members could be a viable candidate, provided he or she is well versed in the issues and armed with some innovative ideas to meet the evolving needs of our community.


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