In the race for Ogden City Council Ward 3, the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board recommends a vote for challenger Turner C. Bitton.
This was a very competitive race. Both candidates are qualified to be on Ogden's city council. Doug Stephens, the incumbent, has served with distinction. Both of these candidates would likely have been endorsed in other council races. However, they are pitted against each other, and Bitton merits the nod.
Bitton is a remarkable young man, the kind of public-minded individual who is needed in politics. He has a wide command of the issues, and also shows a positive trait of thinking beyond the regular issues. One example is the idea to create an infrastructure bank that could provide very small loans to Ogden residents who wish to fix their sidewalks. The loan would encompass the value of the sidewalk. The homeowner, after a deposit, gets a low-interest loan to improve his or her property, and by extension, the neighborhood.
Another idea of Bitton's we like involves having a program that encourages landlords to xeriscape the yards of rental properties. He suggests that the program could be done through incentives on property taxes or through an existing loan program. There's no doubt that at many rental properties, xeriscaping would improve the neighborhoods. Another idea is to look at ways to make paying city utilities easier for many residents, perhaps through a widespread equal pay plan.
These are just a few of many interesting ideas from Bitton. He will work hard to make Ogden a better place for all its residents, including those who live paycheck to paycheck and deal with fears of gangs and other dysfunctional elements.
Bitton will work to promote Ogden's growing reputation as an outdoors, recreational city. On transportation, he favors bus rapid transit while Ogden studies the issue further and comes up with a long-term transportation model that meets present needs and anticipates future needs.
As mentioned, Bitton is a young Ogden leader who is passionate about contributing to the city's success. He deserves to have that opportunity.