Olch insinuates political career is over
November 6, 2009
Brad Olch, one of the most influential figures in Park City’s modern era, insinuated in a post-election interview that his political career likely ended on Tuesday as voters handed him his first Election Day loss.
He said he has "no interest in politics in Park City as of today," but he refused to dismiss the prospects of another campaign someday. Olch said he would keep his mind open to politics, as he does with other aspects of his life.
"At this point, I would say, for the most part, my political career is behind me," Olch said.
He did not provide details about what sort of political position would interest him.
Olch served three terms as mayor, from 1990 until 2002, immediately before the administration of Mayor Dana Williams, who won a third term in office on Election Day. Olch served a term on the Park City Council and served on the city’s Planning Commission before ascending to the mayor’s office.
He was a crucial figure during Park City’s boom years of the 1990s, leading City Hall as the local government grappled with the great growth debates of the era. Olch was a leading figure in City Hall’s heralded open space program, he held a crucial role as local officials prepared for the 2002 Winter Olympics and he was in office during a major expansion of the Park City economy.
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Olch is 58 years old and has lived in Park City since 1976. He lives in the Sandstone Cove neighborhood on the edge of Park Meadows.
He said he hopes younger people begin to assume leading roles at City Hall, noting that he was in his late 30s when he became the mayor. Others share that opinion, but none of the people who won on Tuesday are of the younger generation.
Williams routed Olch on Election Day, winning 69.1 percent of the vote to Olch’s 30.9 percent. Olch said he "ran as good a campaign as I could have run against a very popular incumbent."
Olch was especially aggressive in his criticism of Williams in the final weeks of the campaign, challenging him on his environmental record and his handling of the economy. It was some of the most pointed criticism of Williams since he took office in early 2002.
Williams, meanwhile, countered Olch with a campaign stressing what he sees as City Hall’s financial acumen and the municipal government’s wide-ranging green programs.
"I think, actually, people feel generally comfortable and safe with the way the city is run," Williams said after the votes were counted. "I think people realize that there is a level of civility that we’ve tried to create here."
He said, though, City Hall must better publicize what measures it has taken to spur the local economy.
Williams will take the oath of office for the third time in early January.
Voters elected Cindy Matsumoto, who is a shop owner, and City Hall watcher Alex Butwinski, a retired management consultant, to the City Council. They will be sworn into office at the same time.
They beat Old Town activist John Stafsholt and perennial City Council candidate Mark Blue for the two seats on the ballot. Roger Harlan and Jim Hier, the two people who now hold the City Council seats, did not seek re-election.
The results are preliminary pending a Nov. 12 canvass. The results do not include 21 provisional ballots that were cast and up to 20 absentee ballots. The provisional and absentee ballots, though, would not change the order of the finishers.