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Low-key campaign nears its end

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Park City voters on Tuesday will choose a majority of the City Council, completing what was an uneventful campaign for the three seats on the ballot.

The low-key election season stressed well-known issues like growth and traffic, and the six candidates on the ballot ran issue-oriented campaigns, without personal strikes against the others as they sought votes.

The field is a diverse group, with the candidates coming from different neighborhoods and having backgrounds that do not resemble each other. Two incumbents are seeking re-election, leaving one seat without someone already in office competing.

The candidates are:

( Candy Erickson, an incumbent

( Joe Kernan, an incumbent

( Bruce Taylor, who once served on the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission.

( Liza Simpson, who sits on City Hall’s Recreation Advisory Board

( Dennis Wong, a former prosecutor in California

( Kacy Quinley, a former not-for-profit executive.

Erickson was the top vote-getter in a September primary, and she is expected to easily keep her City Council seat. The rest of the candidates were within 10 percentage points of each other in the primary, making the Tuesday returns difficult to project.

They are seeking a four-year term, starting in January. Erickson wants a third term, and Kernan is campaigning for a second.

Regular Parkites did not appear to become engaged in the campaign, although there are numerous yard signs in the neighborhoods, and the candidates held few debates or forums.

Parkites seem generally happy with the work of City Hall, with the local government continuing a post-Winter Olympic emphasis on neighborhood upgrades like street improvements.

The candidates agreed with the key issues, including ways City Hall can curb traffic and how Park City will continue to develop. There were few instances when the candidates veered sharply from the well-known issues.

At a recent candidate forum in Park Meadows, the candidates provided brief stump speeches and answered questions for about two hours, addressing a wide range of issues.

They talked about Old Town, traffic, pedestrian safety, affordable housing, neighborhood relations and building in an environmentally friendly manner. The candidates agreed on many of the issues.

Some of the highlights from the forum include:

( Taylor said Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort should provide housing for their workforces, perhaps with assistance from City Hall.

( Kernan said newer houses in Old Town should not overwhelm historic ones. He said he does not want the newer houses, which are usually built bigger than the older ones, to overshadow the historic houses.

( Wong said he would reconstitute the abandoned Historic District Commission, a scrapped City Hall panel that held some oversight in Old Town. The City Council dissolved the panel and replaced it with the Historic Preservation Board. Critics say the new Historic Preservation Board lacks the same authority.

( Simpson said Parkites have "lost connection with each other," and she pledged to better relations between the neighborhoods.

( Erickson described herself a being a conservative regarding immigration, calling herself "probably a bit of a redneck" on the issue. She said immigrants should not be packing into apartments, and she said in an interview immigrants from other times learned English and assimilated into America.

( Quinley criticized City Hall for hiring too many consultants and said municipal staffers should be used more frequently on projects. She said making Park City safer for pedestrians and bicyclists involves better managing traffic as well as building sidewalks.


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