Miles makes inroads on the West Side
October 7, 2008
Bill Miles hopes he ends Election Day as a giant slayer. The Woodland Republican is taking on Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott, a Democrat, for seat A on the new County Council.
The five-person Summit County Council will replace the three-member commission when the form of government in the county changes next year. Miles touts his experience in the mining industry working with bureaucrats at all levels of government.
"I’ve probably had more dealings with government entities, both working with them and developing laws and fighting against them in lawsuits, than any other candidate," Miles said in a telephone interview Monday from his horse ranch in South Summit. "The issue about working with and dealing and negotiating and making things work is what’s needed in the county."
At least two candidates are vying for each of the new at-large council seats and voters can cast ballots in all five races.
"This whole change in government, there are just a lot of controversial points there," Miles said about changing to the council/manager model. "All 11 of us who are running have got a learning curve about how this new form of government is going to come in and take place."
This campaign isn’t the first foray into county politics for Miles. Two-term Democratic Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer defeated the 63-year-old in a hotly contested race for the coveted commission seat in 2006. Richer did not seek a council seat this year.
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Miles rejects notions that he used negative campaign tactics two years ago. But said he learned that negative politicking will not serve his council bid.
"Vicious campaigning hurts you, and I didn’t do it," Miles said. "I’m not going to get caught up in all of this vicious crap that’s started already. They can say what they’re going to say about me. I’m not going to get caught up in it and I’m not going to do it."
Out stumping Miles said people complain that more openness is needed in county government.
"The word that a lot of people use is transparent. The county government needs to be more transparent," Miles said. "Make information about government actions easy to obtain and easy to understand."
Too often commissioners meet behind closed doors in so-called executive sessions, he charged.
"If you have to deliberate all of these things that are going on openly in public, you are going to get away from anything being done improperly or wrong," Miles explained.
This includes sensible development codes for landowners on the East Side, he said.
Farmers and ranchers struggling to stay in business are eager to sell their property to real-estate developers.
"People work two or three years, spend lots of money on trying to get a permit to do something to find out two years later they can’t do it," Miles said about the controversial Eastern Summit County General Plan and Development Code. "People don’t know what they have to do to get there."
Meanwhile, traffic is probably the biggest concern on the West Side, according to Miles.
"We don’t want to criticize those who did things in the past but people tell me they get off work in Park City and they’re stopped at slow and go until Kimball Junction," Miles said. "Quinn’s Junction is stop and go all the way into the city."
Scattered yellowed skies in the winter also have westsiders fired up over air pollution, he said, warning that only about 25 percent of the development slated at The Canyons is complete.
"Add another 300 percent of what is already there and what are we going to have?" Miles rhetorically asked.
County politics is not a popularity contest and Miles stressed that "voters probably should look more closely at the qualifications of the candidates."
"Get an opinion about where those individuals stand on key issues," he said. "This is not only an exciting time going into this new form of government but it’s a very critical time for what happens to the county in the future."
Republicans and Democrats asked him to run, Miles explained, adding that he would prefer non-partisan politics in county government.
Miles spent much of his career as an environmental and safety officer at Kennecott and Standard Oil.
"I worked in the Park City mines while going to school up at Utah State," he said, adding that he received a doctorate degree at Rutgers University. "As far as the abilities to deal with the issues, I don’t have any question that I’m prepared."