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It’s Election Time in the City

Monday, 12 October 2015

by Erin McAllister, Paralegal

It’s Christmastime in the City. Well not quite yet, however it is Election Time in the City. And just how can we tell? Instead of red and green lights, tinsel, wrappings, carols, coats and caps, and cheery nods, egg nog and mistletoe, we see: those miserable lawn signs, we hear: campaign promises, including promises to lower taxes while providing more and more services, promises to save our second amendment right to bear arms (not even a local issue), promises to reform education (not a local issue) and finally get around to protecting our kids (a local issue), fix road and traffic jams, stop speeders (unless it is you) and, most significantly, promises to find (and arrest) whoever it is that leases those orange barrels used for street resurfacing projects—projects that seem never to end.

It’s a time of year when most of us would rather read the sports page and follow Utah or BYU football and prepare for Halloween and family time over turkey and grandma’s oven fresh rolls in November, than think about heading to the ballot box at the local school, or, as things are changing, fill out a mail-in ballot in the family kitchen.

So why do we have Election Time in the City? What does the City Government do for you and me and why is it that in most cases people cast their City election ballot for the most recognizable name, rather than for the person most prepared to really do something good for you and me?

The City election is likely the election having the most impact on regular folks like you and me. We “normal” people worry about schools for our kids. And how do our kids get to school, but on a City street. We worry about school zones, and City policemen (and women) “police” school zones. We worry about neighborhood safety and it is the City police who protect us by patrolling and responding to crime, like break-ins and drug use at school and even domestic violence. If you are worried about the Fire Department or the Paramedic getting to your home in an emergency, it is the City council and mayor who are responsible. Normally, the Mayor appoints the Fire Chief and the Chief of Police. We need to get involved in our City.

There are many other things decided by the City through the City Council (which passes ordinances and approves budgets, among many other things) and the Mayor, like traffic enforcement, animal control, local taxes and City infrastructure like road repair, water management, sewer and trash pickup. The City is involved in street repair, intersection control lights (red, yellow and green), street-light improvements in neighborhoods for neighborhood lighting, and even sidewalk repair and cross walk issues. Cities construct parks and athletic fields for our families and children, and cities plan the community so that, through local zoning ordinances, big stores do not move into family neighborhoods. The Mayor and City Council can help develop a master plan to develop a mall and other projects which can bring shopping and a strong commercial tax base to the community so they could lower citizen taxes.

It’s not Christmastime yet, but it is Election time in the City. The right to vote becomes less of a right if we are uninformed and simply look at the brochure for the best looking family or for a name we recognize. A City election is almost useless unless we take the opportunity to look at the candidates (at least online), ask a few questions, and go into the voting booth as an informed voter. If you take the time to prepare, once the election is over, you will have the confidence to make a phone call or attend a meeting of the City Council and weigh in on an issue, or you may just have an idea on how to make your City a little safer. Who knows, you may even get a cross walk installed or repainted or find the Mayor a new Chief of Police.

At election time, let’s get it together and vote intelligently so we can all be at home, safe and sound, in a better community when it is Christmastime in the City.

This information is made available by Spaulding Law for educational purposes only and not to provide legal advice. By using this website, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Spaulding Law, unless you have entered into a separate representation agreement. This information should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

Driving Directions from I-15:
• Take the Pleasant Grove exit 275 from I-15
• Turn North onto Pleasant Grove Blvd
• Turn left onto W. Grove Pkwy
• Quickly turn left into the Synergy/Spaulding Law parking lot.