Though few in numbers, Salt Lake County's Independent Party will work hard to push its objectives, including finding viable candidates for upcoming elections.
The county unit held an organizing meeting Saturday in the State Capitol Office Building. Bart Grant was elected county chairman; Kay McAdams vice chairman; Albert Funk secretary; and Betty Christensen treasurer. Fewer than 20 members voted on new officers.Outgoing chairman Greg Beesley told the group that "a lot of American government is dead. Only the bureaucratic momentum keeps it going . . . we need more politicians with principle."
He suggested party members "treat the media gently and kindly so we can get the facts out" but said the Salt Lake newspapers offer little diversity of opinion on major issues.
Randall Doyle of Area Leaders for Responsible Transportation asked that the party pressure county and state officials for more study of a proposed light-rail system. Current proposals are not economically feasible and have the potential to complicate, not help, Salt Lake Valley traffic problems, he said. The emphasis on south-north corridors could further exacerbate east-west traffic, which is just as heavy.
Competition from private operators would be one way to keep costs under control, Doyle said, unless privatization just results in "another quasi-government business."
Ed Little, Independent Party state executive director, also asked members to support a petition drive to limit the length of time U.S. representatives and senators could serve. The petitions seek a six-year limit in the House and 12 years in the Senate.
The proposal, which is now being reviewed by the attorney general and lieutenant governor's offices, should be ready to begin circulating in Utah by mid-June, he said.
Several states and cities have adopted office limitation measures and Utah is only part of a growing movement, he said. Public pressure may move Congress to pass laws without a national referendum.
Little also posed the prospects for a petition effort to impose ethics standards on public servants. Only 30,000 eligible signatures could put pressure on the Legislature to vote on the matter, he said, and another 30,000 could put the issue on a statewide ballot. Legislators should not be allowed to accept gifts, even lunches, he said.