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CHALLENGERS HOPE THAT GROWING PAINS WILL SWEEP THEM INTO OREM COUNCIL

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If growing pains can be avoided by tossing out the City Council that's been dealing with them, then the challengers in the race for a trio of council seats make sense.

Much of the unrest and discontent in the fast-growing community of 70,000-plus stems from tension over increasingly frustrating traffic congestion, a marked upsurge in new business starts and the loss of open space and orchards.The problem is, most of the members of the existing council are just as concerned as the challengers to their incumbency. It's just a little easier to make armchair decisions than hot-seat ones.

A half-dozen challengers - Michael J.S. Thompson, an attorney; Bruce R. Decker, a real estate broker; Joseph F. Ruffolo, an information systems manager; Clinton Thatcher, computer support technician; Rob Schulthies, an electrical technician; and former mayoral candidate Hans Verlan Andersen, a certified public accountant - are collectively working to unseat the three incumbents: Judy Bell, until recently a travel agent; Kelvin C. Clayton, a school administrator; and Steven L. Heinz, masonry contractor.

The six are also united in their views, dedicated to making sure government is less intrusive and more responsive to the individual.

David Palfreyman, banker, is the lone challenger who is currently part of the status quo - serving on the city's Planning Commission and on several civic committees including the Summerfest planning committee.

There's also a move to end all Redevelopment Agency activity and to expand council representation more widely. Currently, five of the six council members live within a few miles of one another in the northeast section of Orem. Each challenger believes he can bring in a new perspective based on his address outside of that area.

Voters frustrated with the outcome of a couple of high-profile decisions, particularly allowing Fred Meyer to build its superstore on the old Signetics property and unprecedented development of the 1300 South corridor, are looking for relief.

It may well be that they'll buy the theory that a clean sweep will make it all go away.