I attended the first Ogden mayor candidates' get-together last Thursday at the Ben Lomond Hotel. I was disappointed and I guess the Standard didn't expect much either, as it didn't cover the event.
My concern is, I could not tell who you are or what you were going to do for Ogden and its citizens. I didn't hear what you wanted for Ogden.I didn't hear how or where you were going to get the dollars to do whatever you were going to do. I didn't hear what your priorities were and how they helped you accomplish the improvement you are promoting.
What I did hear were, have the "right focus," (what does this mean?), "The mayor spent too much money," (So what, your talking about the past), "public parks," (aren't there higher priorities), "work with council," (how, to do what), "return to the basics," (again, what's this mean?, "worked as civil servant for 20 years," (who cares, we want to know how you are going to make Ogden a better place to live and work), "retail," (Can't get more retail if we don't have more jobs first), "the council [should] make the decisions, the mayor only executes." (That's not the city's form of government.)
I don't know and believe the voters don't know what you want for Ogden or how you intend to get it. I submit that we voters should not vote for you unless we know whom you are and where you want to take Ogden and its citizens.
So as an example, if I were running for mayor of Ogden, I would have said the following: "First, my purpose for the office is: Ogden's mayor's office exist to provide leadership and support to citizens in making Ogden the city of choice. Second, my mission is: To use our citizens' collective talents, skills and knowledge to make Ogden an "example city." (Quality living, quality work and quality environment). Third, my vision is: To make Ogden a city of choice for families and quality employers. A place where each can achieve their dreams for themselves and their families. A place where employers find exceptional and willing associates who want to contribute to their success in return for the ability to support and care for their families. And last, my values are: passion, openness, principled, honesty, value other people's money, results-oriented, future-oriented, personal growth and free enterprise.
"Now that you know who I am and what I stand for as your potential mayor, I would give you my strategic priorities (listed in priority): First, economic improvement. Ogden must have concurrent growth of its tax base and high-paying jobs. Second, we must have community safety. Citizens must feel and be safe in their homes and on the street. Third, Ogden must have efficient and smaller government. We have to do more with less and/or use private sector when government can't be competitive. Fourth, Ogden must have clean, pleasant and inviting neighborhoods and general area improvement. Parks, trails, general clean up with lots of citizen volunteers and some money. And last, infrastructure; maintain and improve building, roads and utilities."
With practice I could have given the audience the above in three minutes which was the allotted time with some feeling of passion and competency.
During the "mingle time" which followed, I could have set forth my position on each of the above to any who asked. For example on economic improvement, I would make the case of how difficult cities have it today without cash, and how difficult it is to be a citizen of Ogden and not have a job, a good-paying job that can support a family. (A good-paying job is one that allows me to feed, cloth, educate and provide needed medical care for my family and to occasionally take them on a vacation.) These two items go together.
Ogden's first priority, therefore, is to grow its tax base with new high-tech, manufacturing and other high-paying companies that bring jobs to Ogden. Success in this area increases tax revenue from companies, increases tax revenue from employees and increase in tax revenue from purchases (retail). Now, with additional tax revenue we can move forward on community safety, neighborhood improvement and infrastructure. Without the improvement in the tax base we fight for few and dwindling resources. We cannot tax ourselves into prosperity. We must increase new revenue dollars from current and new companies who hire our citizens who purchase in Ogden.
Now, the citizens know who I am, what my vision is and how I think the city should move toward making Ogden the city of choice for families and businesses. You may not like me, my views or my priorities, but you know who I am and what I intent to do. Or, maybe you will. In any event, you now have a beginning basis for your informed vote.
We insist you tell us more at the next get-together.
Albertson lives in Ogden