Park City Council field readies for political spotlight | ParkRecord.com

Park City Council field readies for political spotlight

Mayoral campaign overshadowed candidates through the summer

by Jay Hamburger
THE PARK RECORD

There will be changes in the elected leadership at the Marsac Building regardless of the winners on Election Day. There are four people competing for two spots on the Park City Council in November. The City Council campaign between Tim Henney, Steve Joyce, Josh Hobson and Mark Blue is expected to become more intense in the fall than it has been in recent weeks. Henney is the only incumbent in the field.

The Park City mayoral campaign captured attention during the summer as three top-tier candidates vied for the two spots on the November ballot.

Dana Williams, who is a former mayor, and Park City Councilor Andy Beerman advanced to Election Day while Summit County Councilor Roger Armstrong was eliminated from contention.

But as the fall approaches, the City Council campaign is expected to take on more urgency. Four candidates are vying for one of the two positions that voters will decide in November. Only one incumbent, Tim Henney, is seeking re-election. Cindy Matsumoto, the other incumbent, is retiring from elected office. The three other candidates are Steve Joyce, Mark Blue and Josh Hobson. Joyce is a member of the Park City Planning Commission. Hobson is an environmental activist. Blue has run for the City Council before, garnering limited voter support. 

The four candidates offer a diverse selection even if the field was not large enough to require a primary. Henney will likely draw support from those who see City Hall as performing well. Joyce, who is an outspoken member of the Planning Commission, could win over voters concerned about growth patterns. Hobson seems likely to grab votes of people who are pleased with City Hall's environmental programs. Blue could tap people who see themselves as City Hall outsiders.

  • Hobson lives in Old Town and has lived in Park City since 2011. He is a chef. Hobson, 39, is also the secretary of the Summit County Democratic Party.  He said he will mount a campaign based on issues like housing, traffic and sustainability, largely mirroring City Hall's current work plan.

    "I think we're headed in the right direction, at least asking the right questions," he said about the municipal government.

    Hobson said he wants City Hall to move toward its environmental goals by creating a power source that uses renewable energies.  He also described the possibility of installing what he calls "localized solar" on roofs of vacation homes. He supports wind power as well.

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    Hobson wants to address the area's transit system, saying it works well for Park City visitors but "leaves a good number of our commuters in a lurch." He said transit routes should be expanded so they better serve commuters. Transit between Park City and Salt Lake International Airport should be robust, he said. Hobson wants to ensure Park City is an inclusive community that is welcoming to immigrants.

    Hobson said he has spent several months talking to community leaders as he prepared for the fall campaign. The discussions have included resort managers and the Treasure development partnership.

  • Joyce, 55, lives in April Mountain and has lived in Park City for 14 years. He is retired after spending a career in software business development and strategic planning. He has been a member of the Planning Commission for 4 1/2 years, a period that has involved the ongoing review of the disputed Treasure proposal on a hillside overlooking Old Town along the route of the Town Lift. He has forcefully pressed a series of issues related to Treasure.

    Joyce also is the Planning Commission representative to City Hall's open space panel and was on the board of directors of the Friends of Animals, now known as Nuzzles & Co. His activism also includes a role with Summit Land Conservancy and a seat on the Summit County Sheriff's Office Citizen Advisory Board.

    "It's not just diverse, it's relevant," he said about his background.

    Joyce said his platform will involve fiscal responsibility at City Hall, addressing the impacts of Park City's busy calendar of special events, protecting Main Street's atmosphere and businesses and boosting locally oriented businesses like dry-cleaning services.

    He noted City Hall has borrowed and spent significant monies. An entity typically wants to save when numbers are robust, he said.

    Joyce said spending should be prioritized, but he did not discuss details.

    "It's getting more expensive quickly," he said about living in Park City, adding there is a danger of people moving based on expenses that include taxes paid to City Hall, the County Courthouse and the Park City School District.

  • Henney, 59 and a resident of lower Deer Valley, has lived in Park City since 1992. He is a first-term City Councilor whose career included time on Wall Street. He is a real estate investor and manager and said his work in that field has wound down over time. He has previously served on the boards of Mountain Trails Foundation and Summit Land Conservancy.

    Henney said he enjoys the government process and politics locally are "tolerable."

    "My experience is it is maybe 5 percent thankless and 95 percent pretty darn thankful," Henney said about service on the City Council.

    Henney said he is "running on my record" of his first term, listing what he sees as accomplishments like the planned protection of the Park City Library field, the acquisition of Bonanza Flat for conservation purposes, capping the number of chain businesses allowed on Main Street, progress on work force or otherwise affordable housing and the arts and cultural district envisioned in Bonanza Park. He also noted City Hall's passage of a ban on large stores distributing razor-thin plastic bags to customers.

    "My platform is going to be exactly what we're doing," Henney said.

    Henney also said there are significant free-market forces pressuring Park City. He wants to "balance against the incredibly strong free-market forces" on behalf of the community.

  • Blue has unsuccessfully campaigned for a City Council seat repeatedly since 2001, garnering little support from voters. He was not available for an interview this week and has said little publicly about his bid for the City Council.

    Blue recently made an appearance at the Marsac Building to testify as the City Council considered hiring a firm to provide free rides covering short distances. He cautioned City Hall should not move into the taxi business through a deal to hire a firm. He also said municipal funds would be better spent by providing guaranteed parking to Main Street workers.

    In his previous campaigns, he has mentioned issues like speeding and enlivening Park City.