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FORMER, CURRENT SANDY MAYORS DEBATE
EACH DEFENDS HIS RECORD AND ACCUSES THE OTHER OF REDUCING CITY FUND

SHARE FORMER, CURRENT SANDY MAYORS DEBATE
EACH DEFENDS HIS RECORD AND ACCUSES THE OTHER OF REDUCING CITY FUND

With a current mayor and a former one each seeking four more years in the Sandy mayor's post, the candidates' records, as well as their personalities and promises, have become issues in this campaign.

Those records were disputed Wednesday as incumbent Steve Newton and his predecessor, Larry Smith, squared off in a free-swinging debate before members of the Rotary Club of Sandy, Exchange Club of Sandy and Sandy Chamber of Commerce Women in Business.Each candidate claimed that his spending record has been misrepresented by his opponent. Each denied having done any deficit spending and accused his opponent of having reduced the city's fund balance.

Another disputed area of the record involved 40 acres of park development by the Alta Canyon Recreation District in the early 1980s. Smith included those 40 acres in the total that he claimed credit for developing during his term as mayor. But Newton, who was the district's chairman at the time, said Smith hadn't lifted a finger to help develop those parks - a charge Smith denied.

Smith and Newton cited numbers back and forth on the level of economic growth in Sandy during their respective terms, each claiming to have the superior record for fostering business growth.

Smith has the support of the Sandy Mall operators, who clashed with Newton over construction of the Ski Connect Road. And Newton has long pushed development around the South Towne Mall. But Wednesday, Smith voiced strong support for development of the South Towne Mall as well.

Both candidates said they support development of an auto mall south of 10600 South between I-15 and State Street. Smith criticized Newton for dealing with two prospective developers in a way that has prompted one to file notice of intent to sue the city.

Newton and Smith each accused the other of being difficult to deal with and pointed to the number of lawsuits filed against the city during the other's administration.

Smith said the city's process for getting a new business approved is a bureaucratic nightmare that has prompted companies to go elsewhere instead of to Sandy. Newton replied that the system in place is the one he inherited from Smith, so Smith must bear the blame if it's a problem.

In the personality arena, Newton accused Smith of being less than completely truthful about several facts and said the key campaign issue is trust.

Smith accused Newton of running a "government by confrontation and intimidation." Smith said city employee morale has plummeted as a result, and the police union has become more unhappy and militant because of Newton's refusal to work effectively with them.

Newton said the union has targeted him for defeat as part of a statewide AFL-CIO bid for political power, but he has refused to knuckle under to what he considers excessive demands for more pay, more staffing and collective bargaining.