LAYTON -- The erosion of personal property rights and the need for more user-friendly Ogden city ordinances in helping Realtors sell homes before they are foreclosed on were just two of the reasons Ogden mayoral candidates Mike Caldwell and Brandon Stephenson debated at the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors luncheon Friday.
About 450 people attended the event at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, where Caldwell and Stephenson in a friendly manner addressed political issues dealing with the economy and real property.
In addition, the event featured a few remarks by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and a "heart-wrenching" tribute to the U.S. military and the victims of 9-11.
But the luncheon centered around Caldwell and Stephenson fielding questions from NWAOR CEO Mike Ostermiller, event moderator.
Questions posed included: What is the secret behind Ogden's success as it relates to job growth and new business, and what would each candidate's top priority be if elected?
"It requires that we focus on the type of businesses that will come to Ogden," said Stephenson, a two-term Ogden city councilman.
By playing off the strengths of the community, i.e., Hill Air Force Base and Weber State University, Stephenson said, new business can continue to be brought into the city.
To continue the momentum Ogden is already experiencing, the city needs to continue to host events that bring in the international media and provide the kind of exposure the city can't afford to buy, while remaining aggressive in its business climate, Caldwell said, director of the Ogden Ice Sheet and a Weber County employee.
Caldwell and Stephenson also spoke on how Ogden needs to make it easier for incoming business, as well as be supportive in helping grow the businesses already here.
The pair also championed their experience: Stephenson as an eight-year member of the current Ogden City Council, and Caldwell, through a series of board assignments in his position with Weber County, has worked with various political leaders in the community.
One Realtor-related question posed is how they would make it easier for a Realtor showing a property to get the city to turn the water on at the home for 45 minutes, the time needed to complete a home inspection.
"Ogden needs to develop Layton city's easier-to-do- business (method)," Caldwell told the group.
Stephenson agreed that Ogden needs to have user-friendly ordinances, including readjusting some of its ineffective ones on the books.
Caldwell and Stephenson also addressed the concerns with the city's rigid code enforcement.
Stephenson said the city needs to soften its approach when it comes to inflexible code enforcement.
"We want to make sure the 5 percent of the homeowners (not adhering to code) are not ruining it for the 95 percent (who are)," Caldwell warned.
"Personal property rights are so important. A lot of politicians are trying to take away our personal property rights," said Robert Hill, NWAOR president.
Hill said that is why it is important that Realtors become involved in the political process. Friday's luncheon was one way of informing them of the issues.
"So Ogden goes, so does Weber and Davis County -- particularly north Davis County," Hill said.