(UNEDITED) The recent letter to the editor ironically titled "Van Hooser will work to create unity", written by Dorrene Jeske, is a perfect example of the vicious tone and misinformation that is part of the problem, not the solution. I will correct here, with facts, the misrepresentations.
First, Ms. Jeske stated that I was removed from the League of Cities and Towns legislative committee. This is not true. In fact, from a list of statewide candidates, I was appointed twice to the Executive Board of the League of Cities and Towns, where I served faithfully for both of my terms. As a part of this responsibility, I often had the opportunity during the legislative session to attend the League legislative meetings with support from other assigned Council Members and staff representatives.
Next, Ms. Jeske says she quotes me as saying "he didn't need to vote as his constituents wanted because they would understand". I never said to her or anyone else any such thing.
Lastly, the idea that Ogden City is near its debt limit and that the finances of the city have somehow been mismanaged is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. The state imposed "debt limit" of 4% of the net assessed property value of Ogden is approximately $118 million. This limit applies to general obligation debt of the city, which currently sits at about $12 million. Ogden city is not even close to this limit. In fact, I support the plan to pay remaining general obligation debt off by 2016.
Further, the city is in excellent financial condition and maintains an "A" bond rating, which is a significant indicator of financial health. Ogden City runs a balanced budget and has been able to weather the latest recession with minimal decreases in service because of increased business growth. This has all been possible without raising property tax rates, a tradition I will tenaciously continue.
It is important that we work to change the tone of government in Ogden away from this sort of rancor and misrepresentation and I can assure you I will be leading from the top.