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Provo races are nice, pack little spice

Bumbling surgeon Maj. Frank Burns on TV's "M*A*S*H" once uttered the comically redundant phrase, "It's nice to be nice to the nice."

That pretty much sums up the Provo City Council races, with one exception. The six candidates in three districts have gone out of their way to be congenial. Incumbent Councilman Greg Hudnall came under fire this week in his citywide race, but it wasn't challenger Jim Daley who unloaded on him.Southwest District candidate Cindy Richards had the opportunity to take advantage of her opponent, Russell Phillips, at a recent forum he didn't attend. But Richards told the audience who he was and that he was a good man.

In the Northeast District, Paul Warner and Keith Sperry haven't had unkind words for each other.

And when the candidates aren't heaping sugar on each other, they're politely explaining why they're running for City Council and what voters may expect from them.

Daley and Hudnall are battling for the citywide District 1 seat that mayoral candidate Karl J. Thalman holds. Thalman's first term on the council ends in January.

This race is the only one with a little spice, thanks to a series of newspaper ads questioning Hudnall's character. Daley, a former council member, isn't behind the ads but he doesn't mind them. He believes he lost his Northwest District seat in 1995 because he "was not willing to demean the public process by defending against a vicious religious attack."

Hudnall has said that he doesn't want to get into negative campaigning. He plans to ride out the attacks. "I don't have to defend myself," he said.

Of the three council races, the Daley-Hudnall one promises to be the closest.

In the Southwest District, Richards and Phillips are trying to succeed Hudnall, whose intention to move from the area necessitated the bid for a citywide post to stay on the council. Richards, who has a vast grass-roots network, easily won the October primary election. Richards and Phillips are both first-time candidates.

The Northeast District also pits two newcomers, Warner and Sperry. Councilwoman Jane Carlile decided to not run again after seven years on the council. Warner had the greatest margin of victory among municipal candidates in the primary.

Here's a brief look at the candidates:

CITYWIDE DISTRICT

Jim Daley

Address: 1285 E. 350 South

Age: 59

Occupation: retired cost accounting manager for Hercules Aerospace.

Political and civic activities: former Provo City Council member.

Why running: "I think public service is second only to church service in personal satisfaction," and "I would like to donate my budgeting experience."

Vision for Provo: "Provo is a great town to call home, but lately the political leadership has not promoted the policies that one associated with home," he said. Daley said he would like to make the city feel like home again. The city must provide the best fire and police protection possible and bolster zoning enforcement to protect resident from unsightly and unlawful encroachment on the quality of life.

Property tax: The city can maintain the current tax base without raising property taxes through better budgeting, he said.

Paying for growth: Sales tax from the new mall will pay for growth, Daley said.

What sets him apart: Daley said being retired gives him much more time to dedicate to the problems in Provo.

Sexually oriented business ordinance: "Now the current administration has us in a court battle probably costing $1 million to $2 million," he said.

Worst traffic problem: University Avenue. Daley proposes buying rights-of-way for a Bangerter Highway-type road on the east and west sides of Provo.

Greg Hudnall

Address: 448 S. 2050 West

Age: 39

Occupation: principal, Independence High School

Political and civic activities: current Provo City Council chairman; Board of Adjustment; governor's task force on crime; statewide task force on truancy; Provo Rotary Club member; youth sports coach.

Why running: Hudnall said there are some projects he would like to continue working on such as the city master plan, an environmental road study, neighborhood policing and issues relating to housing density.

Vision for Provo: "My vision for Provo is one of lowering density, enhancing standards for parking, creating neighborhood policing and increasing programs for youth and senior citizens," he said. "I would work to accomplish this by continuing to work with the administration and other council members to develop grants and create standards for these programs."

Property tax: Hudnall said he would not favor raising property taxes, noting Provo has not done so for the past 10 years.

Paying for growth: "We need to bring in good businesses that provide good jobs and good services to the community. The mall is a good example," he said. Hudnall said he will work hard to support economic development.

Sexually oriented business ordinance: Hudnall said he believes the city should defend the law if it's challenged in court. But before a final decision is made, he said, he wants to get more facts and advice from legal counsel.

What sets you apart: "I am a team player who works hard to listen to both sides. I do not pretend to know all the answers and I work hard to seek the answers from those that have them," he said.

Worst traffic problem: The intersection of 820 North and Geneva Road needs a traffic signal.

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT

Cindy Richards

Address: 445 S. 400 West

Age: 43

Occupation: mother, etc.

Political and civic activities: Provo city planning commissioner, neighborhood chairwoman, former Provo 2000 Task Force chairwoman, Neighborhood Housing Services board, IHC women's advisory board.

Why running: Although politics isn't appealing, Richards said, serving is. "All I want to do is represent my district, their diverse situations, neighborhoods and backgrounds honestly, compassionately and as effectively as possible."

Property tax: "The tax that funds most city services is the sales tax, and we should work to responsibly expand the sales tax base to provide the funds that Provo needs," she said. Any tax increase should be approved by the voters, she added.

Paying for growth: Richards said she's in no hurry to build out Provo. The sales tax base must be expanded and growth should be funded by new arrivals who place greater demands on city services.

In the district: There's so much at stake for southwest Provo. Growth has intensified traffic problems, crime issues and the need for markets and schools. Real solutions are found through working together. I will work to address the issues by gathering data, sharing it with the neighborhoods and then organizing to help government get the job done.

Sexually oriented business ordinance: "Considering the widespread support for the measure and the willingness of many Provoans to defend it, I believe the law can be defended at an acceptable cost," she said.

What sets her apart: "I feel that my involvement as a neighborhood chair, my experience working in the community and my service on the planning commission and on city boards has helped me gain a strong insight into the current and future needs of our city."

Worst traffic problem: Geneva Road must be widened and needs traffic signals.

Russell Phillips

Address: 2989 W. Center St.

Age: 40

Occupation: self-employed contractor, R. Phillips Plastering.

Political and civic activities: Utah Council of Boy Scouts of America district commissioner.

Why running: Phillips said he offers a willingness to do his part to preserve the quality of life in Provo. "I have a real interest in the decisions being made that affect the southwest area - my home and business are here," he said. "But more importantly, the voice of the people of this district needs to be heard and respected."

Property tax: His basic philosophy is that taxes should not be increased. "However, if in special circumstances a bond election were passed by a great majority of property-tax paying voters on an issue which would benefit the entire community, I would consider a vote to increase taxes to fund such a project," he said.

Paying for growth: Phillips supports current projects and plans such as the new mall that will broaden the tax base. It makes sense, he said, to benefit from money being spent in Provo's retail stores.

In the district: The needs for careful planning and budgeting to provide adequate roads, water, sewer and utilities to keep pace with the tremendous growth we are experiencing is foremost in importance, he said.

Sexually oriented business ordinance: The decision to adopt the law was well researched and should stand up in court, he said. "The city should take the necessary measures, if challenged, to defend the law in order to preserve the rights of all concerned," he said.

What sets him apart: Phillips said his business experience and professional background will prove to be valuable in evaluating the needs and managing growth.

Worst traffic problem: The intersection of 820 North and Geneva Road. Phillips said it needs a traffic signal.

NORTHEAST DISTRICT

Keith D. Sperry

Address: 3605 N. 230 East

Age: 30

Occupation: New York Life insurance agent.

Political and civic activities: state Republican Party fund-raiser, board member University of Utah College Republicans, volunteer high school football coach.

Why running: "I want to get involved because I feel City Hall is unresponsive to the average citizen," he said. "I want to change that."

Property tax: Sperry said he would be very hesitant to ever raise property taxes.

Paying for growth: Wise investments in Provo's business districts, especially downtown, would generate more revenue than needed to offset a tax increases, he said.

In the district: "Zoning and traffic issues go hand in hand," he said. "Because of suspect zoning changes, the traffic has increased to unacceptable levels in many residential zones. I will work hard to protect Provo's neighborhoods."

Sexually oriented business ordinance: Sperry said defending Provo's law depends on the strength of the city's case as determined by the best legal minds it can find. "I certainly wouldn't want to spend possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars, which could go to many different needed programs and projects, on a case which experts determine is not strong," he said.

What sets him apart: Sperry said he is a Provo native. He said he participated in city and youth programs, some of which unfortunately no longer exist. "I think I would better represent and understand all citizens of northeast Provo," he said.

Worst traffic problem: The intersection of 3700 North and University Avenue. Right-turn lanes are a must to start the flow going east and west and to keep traffic from being blocked.

Paul R. Warner

Address: 2959 Iroquois Circle

Age: 56

Occupation: Brigham Young University development officer.

Political and civic activities: Republican Party district chairman, former county and state GOP delegate, former president and current board member of America's Freedom Festival at Provo, United Way expenditure committee, youth soccer, baseball and basketball coach.

Why running: "I enjoy serving and being involved with people concerned about important causes," he said. "I also want to maintain an environment conducive to quality family life."

Property tax: Warner said he doesn't see any current circumstances that would require raising property taxes. Property taxes are a limited source of income, he said. Sales taxes bring in the most revenue.

Paying for growth: Proper residential development will be accompanied by strategic economic growth, he said. That balance will allow the increased sales tax income to keep city services at a quality level.

In the district: "The Northeast District faces the problem of homes being purchased to be used as rentals. Provo needs neighborhoods that maintain value and are kept in good order," he said. Warner said he plans to visit affected homeowners and wants the city to require property owners to occupy their houses if part of it is rented.

Sexually oriented business ordinance: Warner said this is an important issue and the city should do what is necessary to defend it.

What sets him apart: "My experience in working with Provo city leaders and residents in a variety of settings the past 20 years," he said.

Worst traffic problem: Speeding on Quail Valley Drive. Warner wants to use electronic signs, neighborhood policing and residents to slow cars down.