Facebook Twitter



If several recent letters to the editor are any indication, the solution to Utah County's political predicament is as simple as putting more Democrats in office.

"We have a clique of confirmed one-way voters who look to the North Star for voting instructions and, as a result, end up with a bunch of adolescent boobs for county commissioners, bought-and-paid-for national representatives and a state Legislature afraid to legislate without the North Star's approval," wrote former Democratic congressional candidate Eugene Faux.Lamented Springville resident C. Garn Coombs: "What is happening within the Utah County Commission is a direct result of the one-party rule which has caused a demise of democracy in Utah County."

One-party rule, no doubt, has created problems for the political process in Utah County. But claiming that democracy has met its demise is a bit of an exaggeration, just as claiming that the solution to the county's political problems is as easy as putting a Democrat in office.

If it's a Democrat we need, for example, why not put Brent Morris back in office now that he's joined the Democratic Party? Local leaders of the GOP and Democratic parties would have voters believe that their respective parties have cornered the market on political integrity, honesty and know-how. The truth is otherwise, as politicians from both parties have shown.

Just two days before Morris decided to jump to the Democratic Party from the GOP, for example, the county Democratic Party chairman berated Morris for his lack of integrity in threatening to sue the county to regain a post he voluntarily vacated.

"Maybe he ought to consider the Libertarian or the American party. Or possibly, he could join Merrill Cook," said Bob Stringham less than a week before embracing Morris as a fellow Democrat.

In Utah County, Republicans, for good reason, are the latest political whipping boys. But whether you're a Republican or Democrat, it's hard to ignore the Brent Morris fiasco, Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center scandal, closed-door settlement with Commissioner Sid Sandberg's former secretary over her controversial firing, county GOP Chairman Wayne Watson's efforts to keep his estranged wife from talking to GOP officials about his candidacy for county attorney and Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins' absurd salary increase.

No doubt, some political checks and balances are long overdue in Utah County. But to say that political hanky-panky is endemic to local Republicans is silly. As long as politicians are subject to megalomania and the weaknesses of the flesh, problems will continue regardless of who is in office.

Voters interested in good government should be willing to elect moral, ethical and honorable candidates, even if the voters do not always agree with those candidates philosophically. An honest Democrat would make a much better candidate than a corrupt Republican, regardless of what many local GOP faithful would have voters believe.

Meanwhile, voters should be concerned enough to look into candidates' backgrounds, study their platforms and evaluate their integrity. As we've learned from the White House and the Utah County Commission, reading lips is not enough.