Republican, Equality Utah figures consider Park City campaigns
Two people on Tuesday evening indicated in interviews they are considering mounting campaigns for the Park City Council, a signal the City Hall election could attract an intriguing slate of candidates in a year when the majority of the five seats are on the ballot.
Deanna Rhodes conducts outreach efforts for Equality Utah. Chadwick Fairbanks III owns a consulting firm that works in the auto industry. Rhodes lives in Prospector while Fairbanks lives in Aspen Springs.
Neither of them provided details about a potential campaign. They did not discuss platform issues they are considering, and it was not clear when they would make the decision. The two were in the crowd at an event organized by City Hall at the Park City Library designed to provide information about City Hall campaigns and City Council service to people who are considering seeking office. The event drew a small crowd. It was not clear whether others who were in attendance are seriously considering campaigns.
The interest by Fairbanks is especially notable. Fairbanks earlier in 2019 unsuccessfully competed to become the chair of the Utah Republican Party. He has also unsuccessfully sought the 1st Congressional District seat. Park City elections are nonpartisan, but the community has long leaned Democratic. Although he would not be running as a Republican in a City Hall campaign, some voters may associate him with the GOP nonetheless as a result of the congressional bid. Fairbanks also unsuccessfully sought a midterm City Council appointment in 2018 to succeed Andy Beerman when he ascended to the mayor’s office.
The event on Tuesday and the statements from the potential candidates came shortly before the official start of the City Hall campaign with the opening of the window when candidates must file paperwork at City Hall. The filing period runs from June 3 until June 7.
Three City Council seats, currently held by Nann Worel, Becca Gerber and Lynn Ware Peek, are on the ballot. Worel and Gerber are seeking reelection while Ware Peek will not campaign for a full first term after her appointment to the unexpired term vacated by Beerman. Max Doilney, a businessman, has also indicated he will seek a City Council seat.
A primary to reduce the field would be held in August if more than six people file campaign paperwork. The six top vote-getters in a primary would advance to Election Day in November. The winners will be sworn into office in early 2020.
A candidate must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by the election and a resident of Park City for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the election.
The campaign is expected to center on issues like the closely linked topics of housing and affordability, traffic, the City Hall social equity efforts and the local economy.
The event at the library on Tuesday featured a roster of speakers from the City Hall ranks, including Beerman and City Councilor Tim Henney. Beerman’s presence on the panel was noteworthy after having campaigned four times since 2011 — twice successfully for City Council, once successfully for the mayor’s office and once unsuccessfully for the top political post in Park City.
Beerman said campaigns toughen a candidate as they prepare to take office. He said public service can be burdensome as an official opts for the service over their earning potential while in office. He said people stop him to talk about City Hall issues as he is out and about, including when he is in Moab.
“We’re just your neighbors and we’re taking our turn,” Beerman said, also describing that it is an “honor to serve your community.”
Henney, who is in his second term as a City Councilor and whose seat is next on the ballot in 2021, told the audience he chose to campaign to ensure there was a challenge to the incumbents when he first sought office.
“I stepped into the process without a platform,” Henney acknowledged.
He said he spent between 20 hours and 25 hours per week on City Council work during his first two years in office. The time has dropped to between 15 hours and 20 hours, he said.
Some of the other topics the speakers addressed included:
• City Recorder Michelle Kellogg reviewing the vote-by-mail system and options to turn in a ballot.
• City Hall Special Counsel Margaret Plane outlining ethical issues related to service, such as acts that can be prosecuted criminally if a public official is involved that could not be prosecuted if the accused is a private citizen.
• Beerman saying voters want to learn about a candidate’s character and whether they are “authentic, credible and likeable.”
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Arlene Loble served as the Park City manager in the 1980s, a pivotal period that prepared the community for the boom years that would follow in the 1990s. Loble, who recently died, is credited with introducing a level of professionalism to the municipal government that was needed amid the growth challenges.