Former state lawmaker says County Council, school board races are most important
October 17, 2008
Kamas Republican David Ure fiercely opposed changing the form of government in Summit County. But the ballot measure passed and the former state lawmaker is now trying to re-enter politics by vying for Summit County Council seat E.
His first priority would be hiring a manager who oversees the executive branch of county government, Ure said. The manager and five-member County Council will replace the three-member Summit County Commission in January.
"I believe that the citizens want to have an open door to voice their opinions, and my number one goal is for elected officials not to hide behind the manager," Ure said about the controversial governance change. "His opinion is not the opinion of five council people who were elected to make those decisions. No matter who he is, he is not going to be smarter than five people who were raised in five different environments."
Ure is campaigning against Samak Democrat Steve Weinstein for a two-year term.
"I maintained during my 14 years in the Legislature that the two most important positions elected by the citizens of the state of Utah are the county commissioners and the school board, because they affect the lives of the everyday citizens more with their votes than the legislator does," Ure said.
Nowhere is that more evident than the fierce battle some on the East Side are waging against the county to loosen zoning rules in eastern Summit County, he said.
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"For anyone who owns more than an acre of ground, I think that’s the number one issue for them," Ure explained. "By far the vast majority do not want to sell their property. But they do want the right to be able to give a lot to a son or a daughter or help subsidize the lives of some of those widows who live on Social Security."
Without giving up acreage by placing a conservation easement on their property, which precludes development, "they have to sell it all off and let development occur because they can’t give away one lot," Ure said.
"I know of at least 10 widows who own 20 acres of ground at the most, but it’s classified under the county code as an illegal lot of record. They’re starving to death and sitting on $400,000 worth of ground," he said. "That’s why I say the East Side planning code right now is pushing development more than anything else going, because you either have to sell it all or you can’t sell any of it."
A fourth-generation cattle rancher, Ure said agriculture today in the county is not very profitable.
"Corn’s dropped $3 a bushel in the last several weeks, and I am virtually paralyzed by what’s taking place on the national level in agriculture. I bought 550 tons of corn four days ago and I should have bought it yesterday because it cost me $10,000 more just by buying three days too early," he lamented. "We’re all grasping for air trying to make a living off agriculture right now and it’s because of the poor economy worldwide."
But growth also pinches his ability to farm in Kamas, Ure said.
"I’ve got 200 head of cows to drive right now from the Victory Ranch through the town of Francis and home, and I can’t do it with all the congestion and traffic," he added.
But Ure said he would refuse to raise taxes as a councilperson if faced with a recession in his first term.
Ure said he has learned as an elected official not to fear the public.
"The public is either your best friend or they are your worst enemy," he said. "But I’ve also learned that listening is one of the greatest things you learn. Listening to them allows them to vent, which goes back to why I will not allow the manger to intervene for the County Council."