OGDEN -- One of the three following individuals will be the new member of the Ogden City Council for Municipal Ward 2, because incumbent Councilman Brandon Stephenson wants to be mayor.
Alphabetically, they are:
* Richard Hyer, 55, a 15-year member of the Ogden City Planning Commission. "I just want to continue to serve the people," Hyer said.
* Jennifer Neil, 49, a housewife and mother with a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics and quantitative economics. "I'm tired of sitting back and watching and getting angry," Neil said.
* C. Jon White, 26, a welder and computer repairman. "Ward 2 just wants to be better represented in city politics," White said.
Stephenson, the two-term incumbent for the 2nd Ward, which basically covers everything north of 7th Street plus Business Depot Ogden, is running for mayor.
Voters will use the Sept. 13 primary to narrow the field to two for the Nov. 8 general election.
Four names will actually appear on the primary ballot, which was printed before Todd R. Wallis dropped out of the race at a campaign forum Aug. 31, announcing it from the podium. Any votes for Wallis won't be counted, according to the City Recorder's Office.
Wallis, 32, an eBay entrepreneur, said as he sat listening to the candidates speak at the forum, he was most impressed with White.
"Hearing his answers to the questions, watching his body language, whatever, I realized we were on the same page and felt he was a better fit for the job than I am," Wallis said the next day, after he had filled out his withdrawal of candidacy form at the city recorder's office.
He, White and Neil all said they filed for the office because they were appalled at the lack of interest in the job.
"I thought it was ridiculous that nobody was running for something as important as the Ogden City Council," said White, the first to file. "I had it all to myself until the last afternoon."
The other three waited until the last afternoon of the two-week filing period in July before filing.
"I couldn't see just one person running," Neil said. "I had no idea who this guy was," she said, referring to White, the only other candidate named when she filed.
Hyer said he had planned to file his candidacy all along, but circumstances kept him from filing before the last day. A jeweler, Hyer said issues in the campaign have to be sustaining some kind of momentum in the current economic downturn and improving citizen empowerment.
"I'd like to empower citizens to be involved in their government," he said, pointing to forums former Councilman Ken Alford, Stephenson's predecessor, held in the ward. He wants to revive the practice Alford had of meeting with residents in a school or other gathering place, accompanied by city officials, to gather input about ward concerns and inclusion in public works projects.
Neil, in her second bid for the city council, said the free market needs to determine economic development in the city, not tax incentives of the Ogden Redevelopment Agency, which is composed of the city council.
"It just isn't working ... when we gain a Winco, but lose a Stop & Shop," she said, referring to the closure of the locally owned supermarket at 12th Street and Washington Boulevard shortly after the Winco chain opened a supermarket at 12th and Wall.
White favors a fiscally conservative approach for redevelopment plans, noting he'd be the "continuing 'no' vote" on the redevelopment agency.
"We're trying to rebuild the downtown but we can't even do snow removal," he said, referring to winter 2009 when, he said, the city had to discontinue snow plows on his street for lack of funds.
See what the Weber County Forum says: http://wcforum.blogspot.com/2011/09/standard-examiner-vacated-ogden-council.html